Grants Awarded for Seaweed Production for Energy Use

The US Department of Energy awarded $22 million in grants to help make the US a top producer of macroalgae, which can be used as a transportation fuel feedstock.
Grants Awarded for Seaweed Production for Energy Use - News


Last month, the US Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $22 million in grants to fund projects for marine biomass farming for production of commercial products, including feedstock for domestic transportation fuels. The funding, was provided through the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) for 18 projects available through the Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program.

“The United States has offshore resources capable of producing enough seaweed to handle as much as 10 percent of our demand for transportation fuel,” said ARPA-E Acting Director Eric Rohlfing. “By focusing on the technological challenges to growing and harvesting macroalgae efficiently and cost-effectively, MARINER project teams are building the tools we need to fully put this resource to work contributing to our energy future.”

Most domestic biomass produced for electricity generation occurs on land. Research and development of macroalgae fuel production will benefit from a cross-disciplinary collaboration in cultivation, harvesting, computer modeling, aquatic monitoring and advanced breeding and genetics to move forward. The eighteen MARINER projects will promote this energy source. Projects awarded ranged from $448,772 to $3.7 million.

Funds for projects were awarded to:

  • Catalina Sea Ranch, San Pedro CA Design of Large Scale Macroalgae Systems
  • Fearless Fund, Washington DC – Ocean Energy from Macroalgae(OEM): Ranching Sargassum
  • Kampachi Farms, LLC, Kailua-Kona HI – Blue Fields: Single Point Mooring Array for High-Yield Macroalgae Culture
  • Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA - Development of Techniques for Tropical Seaweed Cultivation
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA – Two projects: Nautical Offshore Macroalgal Autonomous Devise (NOMAD) and Multi-resolution, Multi-scale Modeling for Scalable Macroalgae Production
  • Tropic, LLC, Albany, CA – Continuous, High-Yield Kelp Production
  • University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg MS – Two projects; AdjustaDepth –Adjustable Depth Seaweed Growth System and SeaweedPaddock Pelagic Sargassum Ranching
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK – Development of Scalable Coastal & Offshore Macroalgal Farming
  • C.A. Goudey and Associates – Newburyport, MA – Autonomous Tow Vessels for Offshore Macroalgae Farming
  • Makal ocean Engineering, Inc, Honolulu, HI – Modeling the Performance and Impact of Macroalgae Farming
  • University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA – MacroAlgae Cultivation MODeling System (MACMODS)
  • University of New England, Biddeford, ME – Validated, Finite Element Modeling Tool for Hydrodynamic Loading and Structural Analysis of Ocean-Deployed Farms
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA – Scalable Aquaculture Monitoring System (SAMS)
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA – Two projects: Integrated Monitoring of Macroalgae Farms Using Acoustics and UUV Sensing and Integrated Seaweed Hatchery and Selective Breeding Technologies for Scalable Offshore Seaweed Farming
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI – Genome-wide Association Studies for Breeding M. Pyrifera

More information can be found on the ARPA-E website