Seaweed could power cars of future

Scientists have claimed the cars of the future could be powered by seaweed harvested from Ireland's coast.

Biofuel can be produced from several varieties of the algae in the country, say experts, adding that it is set to become an "important player" in biofuel production.

Ireland has 16 species of seaweed which have potentially useful commercial applications, and its location off Western Europe surrounded by clean seas could be a major selling point to the world market.

The country's seaweeds are currently used as food supplements, fertilisers, liquid seaweed extracts, cosmetics, body-care products, seaweed treatments and biomedicine.

However, the marine plants have long been investigated as a potential source of bioethanol, which is typically made from crops such as sugar cane and corn.

"With its rich, sustainable, seaweed resources, Ireland is poised to become an important player in the next generation of biofuel production," said Dr Stefan Kraan, director of the Irish Seaweed Centre.

"We will examine the economic and social aspects of biofuel production from macroalgae," he told an annual international conference of experts at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

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