Seaweed plaguing Mexico’s beaches ‘could provide energy opportunity’

University of Exeter scientists say Sargassum seaweed can be turned into biofuel and high-quality, low-cost fertiliser through a process called hydrothermal liquefaction

Seaweed plaguing Mexico’s beaches could provide a clean energy opportunity.

That’s according to University of Exeter scientists, who say Sargassum seaweed can be turned into biofuel and high-quality, low-cost fertiliser through a process called hydrothermal liquefaction.

The fuel produced could be used to power the liquefaction process, with any excess fuel able to be sold.

The seaweed blooms, which are said to be caused by farming fertilisers washing into the sea, blight beaches and harm tourism and fisheries.

The plan to collect and process the seaweed is among the Exeter projects boosted today by a £615,572 grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Professor Mike Allen said: “We can turn this mess into an economic opportunity.

“Hydrothermal liquefaction not only turns this unwanted seaweed into fuel and fertiliser which could be sold – it can also turn any plastic waste mixed in into fuel too.”

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