(USA)

A multi-million dollar initiative in America aims to unlock the potential of biofuel – made from seaweed – to power cars.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced this week $22 million will be provided via the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to support 18 projects, facilitated by the Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) venture.

“From Alaska to the Gulf Coast, the United States has offshore resources capable of producing enough seaweed to handle as much as 10 percent of our demand for transportation fuel,” explained ARPA-E Acting Director Eric Rohlfing. “By focusing on the technological challenges to growing and harvesting macroalgae efficiently and cost-effectively, MARINER project teams are building the tools we need to fully put this resource to work contributing to our energy future.”

One of the projects, being developed at the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), will focus on identifying the best places to grow macroalgae. PNNL ocean scientist Zhaoqing Yang will lead the $2 million project in partnership with his peers at the lab, as well as researchers from Oregon State University, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Georgia Tech. Their goal is to develop ‘advanced modeling tools’ that can pinpoint premier growing locations.

Check out all 18 here.