NewScientist on plucking seaweed for fuel:
Now a group at the Korea Institute of Technology in South Korea has developed a way to use marine algae, or seaweed, to produce bioethanol and avoid taking up land altogether.
The group says seaweed has a number of advantages over land-based biomass. It grows much faster, allowing up to six harvests per year; unlike trees and plants, it does not contain lignin and so requires no pre-treatment before it can be turned into fuel; and it absorbs up to seven times as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as wood.
The group's patent suggests treating all sizes of algae - from large help to single-celled spirulina - with an enzyme to break them into simple sugars, which can then be fermented into ethanol.
The resulting seaweed biofuel is cheaper and simpler to produce than crop or wood-based fuels, and will have no effect on the price of food, says the group.
If you're nerdy enough, you can read the patent application here.