Turning seaweed into plastics?

A project converting carbon absorbing seaweed into plastic has received €600k backing

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The German government has backed a project that converts seaweed into ethanol, to be used in plastics.

Developed by the C-Cause Consortium, the project has been provided with an initial €600,000 (£514k) to turn Sargassum, a large brown seaweed, into ethanol.

This particular genus of seaweed absorbs high levels of carbon compared with biomass – so the project leaders believe that if turned into plastic, it can store the carbon for decades after use.

Other biological feedstocks for ethanol currently include corn, sugar cane and wood, which both contribute to deforestation and require fertiliser.

C-Cause claims that seaweed would cause either of these issues, all the while being more efficient at sucking up carbon.

Dr Mar Fernández-Méndez, involved in the project, said: “Sargassum has both a high carbon sequestration efficiency and fast growth rate and as a floating macroalgae doesn’t need moored lines to grow like Kelp does, making it ideal for commercially scalable aquafarming geared at carbon sequestration.”