Seaweed may say “Sayonara” to corn ethanol

Japanese sushi bars are popular for their cuisine, but could they also provide a valuable form of biofuel? Apparently so, according to E&E News which reports that Kombu, an edible seaweed found in Japanese dishes like miso soup and sashimi, could be a great new source of energy. Scientists have been working to squeeze energy from seaweed since the 1970’s, but their long molecular chains of sugars are more difficult to break down than those of corn or cane sugar. But now, using a genetically engineered bacteria, a biotech company in California has found a way to break down the brown macro-algae’s sugars into fuels like ethanol and diesel, and estimates are that 5,000 gallons of fuel can be made from a single hectare of seaweed, more than 5 times higher than corn. This could one day mean “Sayonara” for less potent forms of biofuel.

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.