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Transformative Technologies 2010 nominees: Macroalgae (seaweed) technologies

| June 7, 2010

Nominations: Macroalgae technologies
To vote in Transformative Technologies 2010, visit here.

Korean Institute for Industrial Technology
The Korean Institute for Industrial Technology developed a process of extracting ethanol from seaweed, which proves to be more cost-efficient and advantageous than other sources of biofuel, writes Philippine Senator Edgardo Angara. And because seaweeds do not have lignin, pretreatment is not necessary. It is also not as politically sensitive, does not encroach on land used for food-crop production, and absorbs up to seven times more carbon in the atmosphere. Perhaps the only thing growing faster in Asia than the seaweed itself are the number of ventures. In addition to KIIT, major players include the US-based Bio Architecture Labs, and the Philippine government.

Philippine Government project
In Manila, the Philippine government plans to develop a $5-million (P220-million) ethanol farm at a 100-hectare site in the province using the Korean technology of extracting ethanol from seaweed. The project will be implemented in two clusters, one in the provinces of Aurora, Isabela and Quirino in Northern Luzon and another in Bohol where a similar $5-million facility has been established to jump-start the cooperative venture.

Chilean Economic Development Corporation

The Chilean Economic Development Corporation (CORFO) has announced an investment of 7 million US dollars towards a seaweed-based bio-ethanol project spearheaded by the Seattle-based Bio Architecture Lab (BAL), in collaboration with the Universidad de Los Lagos and Chilean oil company ENAP.  The project’s ambitious goal is to produce an annual 165 million litres of bio-fuel, equivalent to 5% of Chile’s petrol consumption. Plans to install a small test plant in Puerto Montt are set for this year.

DuPont – BioArchiecture Lab
ARPA-E has tapped DuPont for the development of a process to convert sugars produced by macroalgae into next-generation biofuels called isobutanol. Bio Architecture Lab will be a subrecipient on the program. Under this award, the DOE will fund $8.8 million and DuPont and BAL will cost share the balance of the total award, forming a joint cost share program between DOE and DuPont.

SES – Seaweed Energy Solutions
SES´s Seaweed Carrier is the first ever modern structure to enable mass seaweed cultivation on an industrial scale in the world’s oceans.  Seaweed is the world´s most promising energy crop. 50 % of our planet´s photosynthesis already occurs in the ocean, yet all current focus is on terrestrial crops.

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