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Don’t laugh yet. Seaweed’s viability as a legitimate fuel source has just increased substantially after the U.S. Department of Energy awarded $5.7 million to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution for the development of technology for the mass production of seaweed for biofuels and biochemicals. Read the full story at Bio-Based World News, but here are the bullets:


  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution was granted the money by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E, part of DOE) for two projects that develop tools and technology to advance the mass production of seaweed for biofuels and bio-based chemicals
  • The investment, named the Mariner Program, is intended to help solve technological challenges related to growing and harvesting macroalgae (seaweed) efficiently and cost-effectively
  • Seaweed is currently primarily used as a food ingredient for both humans and animals
  • The hope is that seaweed can also provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels
  • If successful, major processing of seaweed for fuel could relieve pressure on animal stocks, create jobs and revitalize working waterfronts
  • ARPA-E estimates that seaweed farming in the U.S. could yield 300 million dry metric tons annually, which could fuel around 10% of the nation’s annual transportation needs


Our regulatory experts keep their eyes on developing trends like this to see how they’ll impact our industry, and to support clients who take advantage of these technologies. We’ll continue to study these trends, as well as the regulations that follow them.


If you have a product that takes advantage of new alternative fuel technologies, but you’re daunted by U.S. regulations, give us a call. Our team of experts can guide you through the process.