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Sunday, April 25, 2010

NEW SEAWEED CULTIVATION PROCESS COULD PROVIDE ALL SCOTLAND'S ENERGY REQUIREMENTS

In Norway, Seaweed Energy Solutions has patented the first ever modern structure to enable mass seaweed cultivation on an industrial scale in the world¹s oceans. The structure, known as the Seaweed Carrier, makes a clean break with past seaweed cultivation methods that have all been based on ropes. The Seaweed Carrier is a sheet-like structure that basically copies a very large seaweed plant, moving freely back and forth through the sea from a single mooring on the ocean floor.

The Seaweed Carrier will allow seaweed cultivation to become a possibility in deeper and more exposed waters, opening the way for large scale production that is necessary to make seaweed a viable source of energy. According to SES, growing seaweed in farms covering an area of just less than 0.05 percent of Europe’s coastal regions would yield a yearly production of 75 million tons of seaweed. This biomass could be converted into an estimated 846 Mgy (3.2 billion litters) of ethanol, about 4.7 percent of the global ethanol production in 2008.

I am not convinced of all this CO2 nonsense but nonetheless have previously blogged on growing oil from algae at sea. If this can be used to grow burnable seaweed in commercial quantities then it is worth looking at for growing genetically modified seaweed which could produce oil, or indeed as GM matures as a technology, almost any compound in organic chemistry (ie carbon based). And I guess, loony as it is, I would prefer the Scottish Government to "save carbon" this way than letting the lights go out. I have sent this to leaders of the Holyrood parties but, unsurprisingly, have had no response. I don't know whether this will work - it all depends on cost about which the article is unspecific - but surely it is worth at least looking at.

If this has potential anywhere it must have it in Scotland. As you can see our national waters could contain the 0.05% of Europe's territorial waters needed without any inconvenience.

If the new government, whoever it is, decide to cancel the order for new aircraft carriers built in Clyde docks, as they should if the purpose of military spending is for military capacity rather than job creation, this is, or the building of equatorial floating seasteads, could more usefully take their place.

H/T Al Fin

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