Scientists have raised a new and ambitious way to wrestle the world hold from fossil fuels. This new idea involves harvesting the seaweed forests under the ocean as well as sustainably farming them then feeding the matter into a large underwater digester. It is speculated that this new energy source could one day completely replace fossil fuels by using only nine percent of the ocean floor. In the smaller picture, this technology could help produce a sustainable fuel source for island communities who have little land to work with when it comes to energy production.
Antoine N'Yeurt, a researcher at the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji states that by using wild or farmed seaweed, a majorly untapped resource, it could fuel anaerobic digesters to provide local island communities and potentially the world with abundant energy as well as a natural fertilizer. Anaerobic digestion is a well established technology that produces methane as well as a rich by-product perfect for fertilizing crops by fermenting organic matter, in this case, seaweed. However, further work and research was needed to identify the conditions and equipment required to optimize the method for marine biomass.
So why is the world not embracing this new biofuel technology? The initial investment in this technology has been low. The digesters only cost $200 to produce enough energy to fuel the homestead of an entire family. However much of the $10,000 grant to the project has gone towards laboratory work and more funding is necessary to create a widespread technology. Currently Antoine N'Yeurt says that this small scale operator is perfect for small Pacific islands, but sees the technology as having a worldwide importance. Since this new biofuel technology seems to not only be affordable but powerful, it will hopefully not be long before it provides a sustainable energy to not just island communities but the world.