GCU funded by ETP for seaweed bio-fuels project

11 September 2014

GCU is working to produce bio-fuels from seaweed

GCU is working to produce bio-fuels from seaweed

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Dr Alistair Sutherland has been awarded a research grant to work with Dunbar Marine Resources, a new SME set up by a Dunbar resident to develop potential uses for seaweed in the Dunbar area.

With funding from the Energy Technology Partnership, an alliance of Scottish Universities in energy research, Dr Sutherland of the School of Health and Life Sciences and Dunbar Marine Resources are collaborating on a feasibility study using seaweed washed up on Dunbar’s East Beach to produce renewable bio-fuel and high value co-products.

Each year, about 500 tonnes of seaweed are cast up on East Beach. The study will look at the possibility of using this seaweed as feedstock for anaerobic digestion (AD), an established method of producing methane bio-fuel to generate heat and power or as a transport fuel.

The study will involve storing sealed samples of seaweed, and testing it at regular intervals to confirm that its feedstock value has not diminished. The study will also look at potential customers for the methane biofuel in Dunbar, as well as for the by-products of the AD process. It will engage with both East Lothian Council and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency as stakeholders in this study.

The project will see the GCU team use their lab-scale method of vacuum storage and preservation of single seaweed specimens and ground seaweed and develop this further in collaboration with Dunbar Marine to commercial levels. 

The funding will allow the bulk trials to take place and results are expected in February 2015.