USC study shows promising potential for marine biofuels

USC study shows promising potential for marine biofuels

IMAGE: The diver attaches kelp to a first prototype of the kelp elevator. view more

Credit: Maurice Roper

For several years now, the biofuels that power cars, jets, ships and large trucks have come mainly from corn and other mass-produced agricultural crops. USC researchers, however, have turned to the ocean for what could be an even better biofuel crop: algae.

Scientists at the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies on Santa Catalina Island, working with private industry, report that a new aquaculture technique on the California coast significantly increases kelp growth, with a yield four times higher. more biomass than natural processes. The technique uses a device called the “kelp elevator»Which optimizes the growth of floating bronze colored algae by raising and lowering them to different depths.

The team’s recently published results suggest that it would be possible to use the great ocean to grow kelp crops for a low-carbon biofuel, in the same way that land is used to harvest raw materials like corn and sugar cane – and with potentially less negative environmental impacts.

The National Research Council has indicated that generating …

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