Multi-institutional research team aim to turn excess seaweed levels into jet fuel and batteries

seaweed levels

In 2022, the 2018 record for floating seaweed levels in the Caribbean was broken by 20%. The inundation worried locals because it would hurt tourism, clog harbors and release toxic fumes if left to rot. People saw the consequences from the coast of Puerto Rico to the coast of Florida.

Unfortunately, algal blooms are not the only visible consequence of warming ocean waters. Another consequence is the rising ocean temperatures that increase the risk of powerful hurricanes.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researcher Jacob Kruger commented, “Puerto Rico, in particular, is still dealing with wood debris from Hurricane Maria five years ago. The wood waste in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean areas has piled up with nowhere to go. Because many of the landfills are also at capacity.”


Research Team

Kruger may need help to eliminate the pair of waste problems alone. Still, as NREL’s principal investigator of a new multi-institutional research team, he has an idea that could help seed a unique bioeconomy in the Caribbean.

The team, made up of researchers from NREL, the University of Puerto Rico, North Carolina State University, and Fearless Fund, seeks to convert excess seaweed levels and wood waste into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Graphite is an essential component of electric vehicle batteries.

U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office

They intend to adopt bioconversion and graphitization technologies to harness some 1.24 million dry tons of Sargassum collected annually from populated coastlines. Mixed at 25% with wood waste, this supply chain could produce up to 78 million gallons of PBS annually and 61,000 tons of graphite.

That idea caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office. It awarded the team more than $2 million to test the concept. If successful, the team believes the project could help power a region already affected by climate change.


It can be of your interest: MoU signed between TotalEnergies and Air France-KLM to supply SAF

Related posts

Noventa Energy delivers the world’s largest wastewater energy transfer project at Toronto Western Hospital


RWE expands its renewable portfolio with 2 wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas


Southern Power acquires Glass Sands wind project from Vestas