2017 — It Was a Seaweed Year for Algae
(Algae Industry Magazine) … In September, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $22 million in grants to fund projects for marine biomass farming for production of commercial products, including feedstock for domestic transportation fuels. The funding was provided through the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy (ARPA-E) for 18 projects under the banner of the Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program. The grants are designed to help make the U.S. a top producer of macroalgae. Seaweed could furnish as much as 10% of our demand for transportation fuels, DOE officials said.
Among the major DOE grant winners are the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of California (Irvine and Santa Barbara), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of New England and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The Marine Biological Laboratory, in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, received a grant to develop innovative cultivation and harvesting technologies for year-round production of seaweeds in tropical and subtropical U.S. Waters, for use as fuel, chemical feedstock and animal feed.
University of Connecticut Professor Charles Yarish, who has spent his career studying seaweed, was awarded a DOE grant to fund one of his dream projects. The $5.7 million grant will go to Dr. Yarish and colleagues at the University of Connecticut, and a team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, to figure out if it would be viable to mass produce seaweed for use as biofuel in the federal waters 12 to 200 miles off the New England coast. That area has been designated by the U.N. as an exclusive economic zone. “We haven’t been able to exploit this zone for areas of farming, and just imagine if you can grow seaweeds like kelp…this can propel a major industry in the U.S. for this type of aquaculture,” said Dr. Yarish.
As the year rolled to a close, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced the launch of the ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard. The joint standard marks a first for the two certification programs, bringing together expertise in sustainable fishing and responsible aquaculture. READ MORE