U.S. Dept. of Energy Moves Forward
on Seaweed Aquaculture for
Fuel & Chemicals


The U.S. Department of Energy has developed a project to encourage research and development of seaweeds such as sugar kelp, which can be processed into alcohol for fuel and chemicals. The project goals include energy independence and the reduction of emissions of global warming gases from petroleum fuels.

Projects to produce alcohol fuel from seaweed are being developed in other countries. The U. S. Energy Dept released the following in November 2016:

“The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA–E) intends to issue a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in November, 2016, for the development of advanced cultivation technologies that enable profitable and energy efficient production of macroalgal-biomass (seaweeds) in the ocean. These technologies are expected to be deployed and support cultivation of macroalgal-biomass feedstocks at a scale relevant for the production of commodity fuels and chemicals. The primary challenge is to dramatically reduce capital and operating cost of macroalgae cultivation, while significantly increasing the range of deployment by expanding into more exposed, off-shore environments.”

The ARPA stated goal in reducing green house gas emissions is that biomass becomes (the) largest primary energy source by 2050.