Biofuels may hold the key to reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cutting down on our greenhouse gas emissions. Ethanol is currently the biofuel of choice, with almost all gasoline bought at the pump in the United States containing 10 percent ethanol. Right now, though, most ethanol comes from corn and sugarcane, and there are concerns that growing our fuel from these crops could drive up food prices (â€œfood versus fuelâ€).
Biofuels made from macroalgae, aka seaweed,Â avoid this problem. Seaweeds do not require arable land, fertilizer, or fresh water, and they are already cultivated as food (though not a staple crop like corn), animal feed, fertilizers, and sources of polymers. Traditionally, scientists ignored seaweed as a biofuel source because its main sugar component was too difficult to process. A recent paper published by ScienceÂ describes how researchers genetically-engineered a microbe that is capable of producing ethanol from seaweed.
from Ars Technica