London: Seaweed may prove a viable future biofuel -- especially if harvested in summer.
Researchers found the best month for biofuel harvest was in July when the kelp contained the highest proportions of carbohydrate and the lowest metal content.
"Seaweed biofuel could be very important in future energy production," says Jessica Adams, who led the study at Aberystwyth University, Britain.
"What biofuels provide that other renewables such as wind power cannot is a storable energy source that we can use when the wind drops," adds Adams.
Research into biofuels has focused on soil plants. However, these have the serious drawback of the conflict between using land to grow food or fuel, according to an Aberystwyth statement.
Marine ecosystems are an untapped resource that account for over 50 percent of global biomass. Seaweeds themselves are capable of producing more biomass per square metre than fast growing terrestrial plants such as sugar cane.
These results were presented Monday at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow, Britain.
First Published: Monday, July 04, 2011, 15:09