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Novozymes forms seaweed JV

Novozymes has formed a joint venture with Sea6 Energy, an Indian company, to develop a method of turning seaweed into biofuels. Through the research, enzymes will be used to convert the seaweed-based carbohydrates into sugar, which can then be turned into ethanol through fermentation.

Sea6 Energy will contribute its offshore seaweed cultivation technology to the partnership, whilst Novozymes will be in charge of the researching, developing and manufacturing.

Seaweed has many benefits, such as being fast growing, not requiring fertiliser, nor does it take up land to grow on. India is well suited to cultivating seaweed because it has a warm sea, abundant sunlight and can be harvested year-round.

Sea6 is looking at cultivating seaweed for sugars using a method that does not require much fresh water. Working in fishing villages in South India, Sea6 has already begun trialling its cultivation methods.

‘Seaweed is a natural complement to our efforts to convert other types of biomass to fuel ethanol,’ says Per Falholt, executive vice president of Novozymes. ‘More than half of the dry mass in seaweed is sugar, and the potential is therefore significant.’