Growing Seaweed Fights Climate Change and Provides Food, Fertilizer and Fuel
Seaweed, a term for the diverse group of large, nonflowering marine organisms known as algae, has a wide range of uses, from food and fertilizer to fuel. It also absorbs carbon and is a potentially potent tool in fighting climate change. Seaweed is simple to grow, requiring only seawater and sunlight, and is beginning to be farmed more extensively all over the world
In California, scientists at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been developing seaweed that helps reduce the methane produced by cows. “You essentially just pump seawater from offshore through some filters. You have your system of tanks and you basically just need sunlight and seawater to cultivate the seaweed,” said project leader Dr. Jennifer Smith, as ABC 10News San Diego reported.
According to Smith, methane is a 30-times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. When the cows eat the red seaweed developed by Smith and the other scientists on the team, studies have shown a reduction in the amount of methane emitted from the cows’ belches. Their digestive process is made more efficient by the seaweed and thus less of what they eat is converted into waste and its byproduct, methane. Following three years of research, Smith and the other scientists hope to have their seaweed supplement available for use at California farms early this year. The team expects the emissions from the cows to be reduced by over 50 percent.
“If you could get it out of the mix, you’d have an immediate effect on the rate of climate change. Today about 25% of warming is a result of methane,” said Scott Peters, a San Diego Congressmember who was co-author of a bill to help tackle methane emissions, ABC 10News San Diego reported.
But for some California companies trying to farm seaweed in the state, the permitting process is so lengthy and costly, it’s proving to be a roadblock for those that want to join the blue economy.
Seaweed, a term for the diverse group of large, nonflowering marine organisms known as algae, has a wide range of uses, from food and fertilizer to fuel. It also absorbs carbon and is a potentially potent tool in fighting climate change. Seaweed is simple to grow, requiring only seawater and sunligh...
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