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Posted Wed Jan 21 2009: from New Scientist:
Biofuel from the oceans
Now a group at the Korea Institute of Technology in South Korea has developed a way to use marine algae, or seaweed, to produce bioethanol and avoid taking up land altogether. The group says seaweed has a number of advantages over land-based biomass. It grows much faster, allowing up to six harvests per year; unlike trees and plants, it does not contain lignin and so requires no pre-treatment before it can be turned into fuel; and it absorbs up to seven times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as wood. The group's patent suggests treating all sizes of algae -- from large kelp to single-celled spirulina -- with an enzyme to break them into simple sugars, which can then be fermented into ethanol. The resulting seaweed biofuel is cheaper and simpler to produce than crop or wood-based fuels, and will have no effect on the price of food, says the group.
[Read more stories about: technical cleverness, carbon sequestration]
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'Doc Jim says:
Can we use the algae blooming in our dead zones? Now that would be a win-win!

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