News 2017-03-28

Increased production of biofuels from the sea and its possible impact on the ecosystem

Research is underway to determine whether cultivating algae and sea squirts may be a promising alternative for the production of biofuels. However, more knowledge is needed about how large-scale production might affect the sea and its ecosystem services.

– Increased production of these renewable biofuels could lead to reduced environmental load, but in order to assess the overall sustainability, we need to know more about the various environmental and social impacts associated with this, says Karin Hansen at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

In a new project, she and other researchers will study how an increased production of algae and sea squirts may affect ocean ecosystems and ecosystem services.

The cultivation of algae and sea squirts quickly provides large quantities of biomass in a variety of different marine environments. Algae and tunicates are considered interesting alternatives to biofuels produced from forest residues or agricultural crops because aquatic farms do not take up any land surface, do not compete with existing food production, do not not require fertilizers or irrigation, and have the potential to contribute to other benefits.

Production is still under development, but it is hoped that there is a potential for a future sustainable supply of biomass for biofuel production, and that these aquatic farms may also contribute to reduced eutrophication by reducing nutrients in coastal areas.

The Marine feedstock based biofuels and ecosystem services project is financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels, f3 (Fossil Free Fuels), of which IVL is a member.


For more information, please contact:
Karin Hansen, karin.hansen@ivl.se, tel. +46 (10)-788 66 25