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Home » Algae/Other Aquatic Organisms/Seaweed, Business News/Analysis, Farming/Growing, Feedstock, Feedstocks, Infrastructure, Massachusetts, Opinions, R & D Focus, Sustainability

Kelp Farming Sees a Rise In Interest On the Cape

Submitted by on May 14, 2018 – 10:50 amNo Comment

by Sarah Tan (WCAI)  Kelp farming is on the rise around the Cape and Islands, as more growers are finding reasons to love this ocean crop. From researchers like Scott Lindell at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute who want to farm the crop for biofuel, to shellfishermen in Chatham who want to sell it to food markets, the past two years have seen an increase in permits and requests for permits for kelp fishing.

Lindell has been studying different strains of sugar kelp at his lab in Woods Hole, and has been collecting different types of it from along the New England coast. His hope is that in twenty years or less, cars may be able to use seaweed – instead of corn – as a biofuel.

“If you were to take something like the space of Iowa and farm it for seaweeds, you would supply about ten percent of the transportation needs of the U.S. in biofuels,” he said.

“This sort of kelp in particular is very high in carbohydrates and sugars,” he said. “And through a fermentation process will release those sugars and they can be turned into ethanol.”

He’s looking at crossing different strains and experimenting to grow the most ideal seaweed for creating fuel.

“It’s a crop that doesn’t require much feeding, and it grows in the winter, so from a farmer’s perspective it’s a great way to maintain an active farm throughout the winter in Massachusetts,” he (Chris Schilacci an aquaculture specialist with the state’s Department of Marine Fisheries) said. READ MORE includes AUDIO

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