Macroalgae, commonly known as seaweed, is a promising source of biomass. Many species are fast growing with a high carbohydrate content, they can be farmed in saline water, and they can be grown without added fertilizer in some regions. Seaweed has been both fermented into ethanol and anaerobically digested into methane, and because of advantages at the farming stage, seaweed can produce fuel with lower lifecycle emissions than conventional biomass sources. Seaweed is also interesting as bioenergy feedstock because of its high value as food for human or animal consumption. For a given crop, simple to produce seaweed food products produce more revenue than complex to produce biofuels, which points to a seaweed industry where energy is a second class product.
In this presentation, Aaron Philippsen discusses seaweed farming, conversion of seaweed into biofuels, and the logistical issues presented by the BC climate. He also examines the implications of seaweed's high value in food markets and the benefits of producing animal feed as a biofuel co-product.
Aaron's Master's thesis on the topic is here
Aaron Philippsen is a research engineer working for the Institute of Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria with a masters degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Victoria. His masters work focused on a 'well-to-wheel' lifecycle study of emissions, energy use, and cost for seaweed bioethanol production, and it included seaweed ethanol production in British Columbia as a case study.
Everyone welcome, registration not required.
Venue accessible, with ramps.