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Bioenergy > Feedstocks > Macro-algae/Seaweed

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  • Take biofuel crops off the land and grow them at sea, 6 June 2008 opinion piece in SciDev.Net: "The environmental and social costs of producing biofuels on land can be avoided by farming seaweed".
    • "In Costa Rica and Japan, seaweed farming has been re-established to produce energy. It can quickly yield large amounts of carbon-neutral biomass, which can be burnt to generate electricity. High-value compounds — including some for other biofuels — can be extracted beforehand."
    • "We have calculated that less than three per cent of the world's oceans — that's about 20 per cent of the land area currently used in agriculture — would be needed to fully substitute for fossil fuels. A small fraction of that sea area would be enough to fully substitute for biofuel production on land."
    • "Growing large seaweed fields for energy using nutrients from wastewater could be an economically-sound use for the millions of tonnes of untreated wastewater dumped daily into our seas worldwide — and the seaweed helps clean it up in the process."[1]


  • Treehugger Blog contributor John Laumer lists some of the potential concerns related to using seaweed for biofuel:
    • "Little mentioned in the print and online media are prospective labor questions for mariculture (on the indicated scale). Mariculture is labor intensive. It is typically done in poor nations, near sheltered archipelagos or on the leeward sides of island nations, and can offer great opportunities for economic development, often as family run enterprises. However, we don't want to fuel the world's SUV's on the backs women and children."
    • "[T]here will be competition for marine habitat, just as there is for wildlife habitat on marginal farmland, once biofuel production scales up 'under the sea.'"
    • "We have to know more about supply chains, too, before this is pronounced 'Green.'"[2]

Bioenergy feedstocks edit

Biodiesel feedstocks:
Currently in use: Animal fat | Castor beans | Coconut oil | Jatropha | Jojoba | Karanj | Palm oil | Rapeseed | Soybeans | Sunflower seed | Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO)
Currently in research and development: Algae | Halophytes (Salt-tolerant plants)

Ethanol feedstocks:
First-generation: Cassava | Corn | Milo | Nypa palm | Sorghum | Sugar beets | Sugar cane | Sugar palm |Sweet potato | Waste citrus peels | Wheat | Whey
Second-generation: For cellulosic technology - Grasses: Miscanthus, Prairie grasses, Switchgrass | Trees: Hybrid poplar, Mesquite, Willow

Charcoal feedstocks: Bamboo | Wood
Waste-to-energy (MSW)

Biomass edit
Biomass energy - Biopower/Bioelectricity | Woody biomass | Emerging biomass industries
Biomass sources: Traditional - Trees/Wood - Agricultural waste | Potential - Seaweed
Biomass-related events (Biomass event archive)
Biomass-related news (Biomass news archive)


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