The problem of seaweed flooding water bodies can be solved as soon as possible. British scientists have created a unique technology for converting seaweed into biofuels and fertilizers. Their production will be of high efficiency but inexpensive. That development has another huge advantage. With its help, the oceans will be cleaned from plastic. In the near future, the technology will be launched in the Caribbean Sea to clean tourist beaches.
Huge volumes of rotting seaweed are thrown ashore on their territories annually. For example, on the beaches of Mexico alone, there are millions of tons each year. They not only fill the territory for vacationers, but also have a disgusting smell, thereby destroying the tourism industry, harming fishing and oceanic ecological systems.
A group of scientists from the University of Exeter has developed a methodology for processing seaweed to obtain biological fuel and fertilizers in the form of bulk chemicals. Professor Mike Allen explained that the processing of seaweed requires the removal of salt water, then washing in fresh water and drying.
This process creates high costs, because it was decided to abandon it. What was needed was a method that would pay for itself and develop economically. Scientists decided to use the fractionation method for this, installing acidic and basic catalysts. Based on them, they developed a process similar to the production of a palm oil substitute.
According to the same principle, residual seaweeds were prepared for different stages of hydrothermal treatment. During this treatment, the organic material is subjected to high temperature and pressure, converting the seaweed into bio-oil, which can then be processed into fuel or fertilizer.
Unlike existing technologies, scientists were able to show a new method of biochemical conversion, which eliminates the removal of salt. In the new technique, the usage of salt as a catalyst was found to be useful rather than a hindrance.