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Macro-algae, can be a future of automotive fuel

Published On Oct. 14, 2017 By Shubham

It's not beyond the possibility that automotive vehicles might one day run on biofuel made from seaweed (Macroalgae) if the Pacific  Northwest National Laboratory's Department of Energy’s engineers is successful in finding a way to mass-production of marine biomass (seaweed) that can be converted into bio-based chemicals and biofuels. 

Macro-algae is used for human consumption were farm grown primarily. However, it could also be used for the production of renewable energy without the use of synthetic fertilizers or

land and fresh water, needed for food production, with a viable economy.  

United State could grow enough seaweed that would meet about 10% of the nation's annual need for transportation. But new technologies and engineering approaches are needed to increase production before cars are driving around on seaweed. 

For boosting seaweed cultivation needed to know where to grow or farm it, for that,  researchers at “PNNL” are developing a set of modelling tools that will predict the location and times to efficiently cultivate seaweed in an open-ocean farm. The team of scientists will combine several existing modelling tools to evaluate seaweed growth potential; nutrient availability; and how wind, storm surges, tides, waves and currents could affect artificial seaweed farm's productivity. 

Another PNNL-led team will work on development of an autonomous cultivation device that runs along a 5-km carbon fibre rope in hopes of growing seaweed at a low cost.  Free-floating buoys equipped with sensors that track position, speed of movement,  underwater light exposure, and other parameters that will keep the long line floating. Data from sensors will calculate growth of two species of kelp growing along the line. The line's carbon fibre will be made with composites waste materials from the aviation industry.