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Trends in Biotechnology
Volume 38 (11), 2020, Pages 1232-1244

Sustainable Seaweed Biotechnology Solutions for Carbon Capture, Composition, and Deconstruction

Lieve M.L.Laurens1,@, MadelineLane1, Robert S.Nelson1

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 15013 Denver West Parkway, Golden, CO 80401, USA.

Abstract

Seaweeds or macroalgae are attractive candidates for carbon capture, while also supplying a sustainable photosynthetic bioenergy feedstock, thanks to their cultivation potential in offshore marine farms. Seaweed cultivation requires minimal external nutrient requirements and allows for year-round production of biomass. Despite this potential, there remain significant challenges associated with realizing large-scale, sustainable agronomics, as well as in the development of an efficient biomass deconstruction and conversion platform to fuels and products. Recent biotechnology progress in the identification of enzymatic deconstruction pathways, tailored to complex polymers in seaweeds, opens up opportunities for more complete utilization of seaweed biomass components. Effective, scalable, and economically viable conversion processes tailored to seaweed are discussed and gaps are identified for yield and efficiency improvements.

Keywords: seaweed, macroalgae, compositional, biological conversion, carbon capture.

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