1) Seaweed-based fuel could one day power your car. (2) It is more than just an ingredient in a purifying face mask or a sushi roll. (3) According to new research, seaweed has the potential to become an advanced biofuel known as biobutanol. (4) In the past, U.S. scientists have looked to the possibility of algae-based biofuels, but most of these explorations have shied away from kelp and seaweed. (5) One reason why seaweed may not have taken off as a potential fuel source is the fact that it’s not a major part of American culture. (6) In contrast, in Asian countries such as Japan, there has been a long history of seaweed in the cuisine. (7) Japanese researchers are much more familiar with it and have spent decades studying its potential uses. (8) A second reason for the U.S. avoidance of seaweed based biofuel is the country’s lack of experience with seaweed farming. (9) The U.S. is no stranger to seaweedharvesting. (10) However, for the biobutanol project to be environmentally sustainable, seaweed cannot be harvested; it must be farmed. (11) “One of the challenges of harvesting a natural seaweed bed is you can only [use] a certain percent of the bed if you don’t want to have a negative environmental
impact,” Nikesh Parekh, CEO of Bio Architecture Lab, said. (12) Farming enough seaweed to support mass production of a biofuel would be very expensive initially, but it could pay off handsomely. (13) They say that the seaweed-based fuel would work better in automobiles than ethanol and be easier to transport.