2021-03-03

Biofuels have a bright future, scientists want to use elevator technology to increase kelp production

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Biofuels have a bright future, scientists want to use elevator technology to increase kelp production

New Atlas pointed out that compared with corn, sugarcane, canola and other plants, the biggest advantage of kelp is that it does not need to rely on land to grow.

This is a huge benefit for the precious natural habitat and farmers’ farmland. In addition, kelp farming does not require fresh water, fertilizer or pesticides, and can grow naturally in the marine environment.

However, as one of the fastest growing plants in nature, kelp will also pose a series of challenges to the controlled aquaculture environment.

For example, plant roots must be fixed in sunny waters in order to achieve good reproduction. However, it is difficult to ensure sunlight in deep water areas with rich nutrients.

Biofuels have a bright future, scientists want to use elevator technology to increase kelp production(1)

In order to overcome this problem, the USC team simply Proposed a set of solutions that have the best of both worlds-to allow kelp to be lifted and lowered by elevator!

This set of “kelp lifter” is composed of fiberglass pipes, stainless steel cables, and horizontal beams. When the entire structure is raised and lowered, the kelp cultivated on it will also experience a deep cycle.

During the 100-day test on the coast of California, scientists raised the high-yielding macroalga kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) to sunny sleep every day, and returned to 260 feet at night (80 meters) deep sea floor so that it can absorb important nutrients such as nitrate/phosphate.

Through this cultivation method, the macroalga kelp can grow rapidly, and the output is even four times that of ordinary kelp.

Brian Wilcox, the co-founder and chief engineer of Marine BioEnergy, said: “What’s even better is that this solution does not require any new technology. You can use ready-made products to build a raising and lowering system for kelp farms.” .

Once it is put into use, deep-cycle farms may give birth to a novel biofuel feedstock. Not only can it be produced uninterrupted throughout the year, it is also expected to make the cost of carbon-neutral fuels more approachable.

It is reported that the company is currently working hard to transform the kelp elevator for use in open kelp farms.

For details about this research, you can move to the recently published “Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews” journal for viewing.