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December 24, 2008 / Mridul

UK Seeks to Tap Algae on its Shores for Biofuels

Marine scientists in Scotland are set to initiate a £5 million study which could transform seaweeds and marine plant algae into major sources of low emission automobile fuel in Britain. The scientists are calling them the mari-fuels and they hope that fuels produced from the seaweeds and algae would in part replace the controversial biofuels produced from food crops.

The study, which will be funded in part by The European Union, would look to formalize the best possible way of exploiting the vast reserves of the seaweeds which are found in great abundance along the British coastline.

The study holds great importance for Britain as it could help it achieve the emissions targets set by the EU. British government would be keening waiting for the outcome of the study as it sees fuels from plants an instrument to reduce or at least neutralize its carbon emissions. Britain wants 2.5 percent of all petrol and diesel to be produced from renewable sources like plants.

The biggest advantage of exploiting biofuels from marine plant algae is that it’s a completely natural process which requires almost no anthropogenic activity. They grow at a much greater rate as compared to the food crops, no environment degrading fertilizers are required and no deforestation. The seaweeds derive energy from ammonia produced as waste from farms of salmon fish. So it’s actually fuel from waste.

Read rest of the story here

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