Project Seeks to Reduce Costs of Clean Biofuel Made from Sugar Kelp

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today recognized the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for receiving a $500,000 competitive grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program. The grant will fund a research project focused on the “development of scalable coastal and offshore macroalgal farming.”

“Alaska is a leader in energy innovation, and I’m proud that we continue to be recognized for our efforts to develop the next generation of cost-effective technologies,” Murkowski said. “Exploring the possibilities surrounding the economic benefits of kelp production, from food to energy, is exciting for our state. This grant underscores both the opportunities we have in Alaska and the importance of programs like ARPA-E, which provide tools that enable transformative energy technologies to succeed.”

UAF’s grant was one of 18 announced this week as part of ARPA-E’s Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER) program. The UAF project will “develop replicable scale model farms capable of the cost-effective production of sugar kelp, a type of seaweed” with a “particular emphasis on the development of cost-effective harvesting methods based on technologies applied in the commercial fishing industry.” Another grant recipient, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, will conduct significant testing for its project in Alaska, as well as New England. 

Click here for more information about the 18 innovative projects chosen for the MARINER program.

Murkowski, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, has introduced broad, bipartisan legislation, S. 1460, that would reauthorize ARPA-E through 2022. The bill is currently awaiting floor consideration by the full Senate.

Related Issues: Energy