Robotic kelp farms offer hope for cheaper biofuels
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Many see renewable, carbon neutral energy production as the best hope to mitigate the effects of global warming. Solar, wind and hydropower have all seen significant innovation and expansion in recent years. However, scaling up the harvest of these forms of energy usually requires a large amount of land. Now, startup Marine BioEnergy is hoping to develop an alternative that does not take up any space on land – carbon-neutral biofuels developed from giant kelp. Kelp is one of the fastest-growing producers of biomass, and it needs no watering, weeding, pesticides, or fertilizers. It grows up to 30 centimeters a day, and its low cellulose content allows it to be easily processed into liquid biofuel. The kelp also absorbs carbon dioxide in the ocean, which could help address ocean acidification.
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