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Seaweed for Biofuels

In order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we need renewable feedstocks – seaweed represents one such alternative biomass source that could make a difference on a global scale. Norway and UK would like to take a lead and make the North Sea basin a hot spot for innovation in this area.

The first Seaweed for Biofuels Workshop, co organised by Innovation Norway, SINTEF, AB-SIG and Biosciences KTN, took place in Trondheim, Norway on 25th/26th September.

Session 1 of the workshop began with an outline of the ‘Case for Marine Energy in Europe: and the Crown Estates response in the UK’. This excellent talk presented the case for seaweed to biofuel and outlined the deployment of the first commercial macro algae production pilot facility in the UK. This was followed by Industry perspectives from Statoil and an outline of the regulatory landscape in the UK & Norway by Tim Atack, Viking Fish Farms.

During the following sessions the multiple challenges involved in commercial seaweed to biofuel operations, including an outline of novel technologies for cultivation, harvesting and processing of the algal biomass were discussed.

Day 2 of the event brought presentations from the existing seaweed industry, including Seaweed Energy Solutions, CPI and FMC Biopolymers, and outlined the opportunities for seaweed as a feedstock for fuel and high value non-energy products such as food and cosmetics ingredients. These presentations were followed by an excursion the Norwegian Seaweed Technology Centre hosted by SINTEF.

The event attracted delegates from around Europe & beyond and provided a platform for new collaborations to be formed which could see new projects being submitted for the recently announced Technology Strategy Board & Innovation Norway Sustainable High Value Chemical Manufacture using Industrial Biotechnology competition.

Published 17 October 2012
Senior Research Scientist