Solve Invasive Seaweed Problem by Turning It Into Biofuels and Fertilisers


UK researchers have developed a cheap and simple way of creating biofuel and fertiliser from seaweed, whilst removing plastic from the oceans and cleaning up tourist beaches in the Caribbean and Central America.

Millions of tonnes of rottingseaweed washes up on beaches of Mexico, the Caribbean and elsewhere every year.

Partly fuelled by fertilisers washing into the sea from farming in the Americas, the foul-smelling Sargassum seaweed devastates the tourism industry and harms fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

A research team, led by the University of Exeter and the University of Bath, has developed a cheap and simple way to pre-process seaweed before making bulk chemicals and biofuels from it.

“Ultimately, for this to work it has to make financial sense,” said Professor Mike Allen, from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory. “Processing marine biomass like seaweed usually requires removing it from the salt water, washing it in fresh water and drying it.

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Image via University of Exeter