Project Innovation + Advantages:
Ocean Rainforest will use a comprehensive experimental approach to optimize the design of their novel giant kelp cultivation system. The team will conduct tests in the open ocean of several variables, including depth and length of grow lines, seeding methods, and harvest frequency. Using an array of experiments that build on themselves each year, the team will evaluate the feasibility of their cultivation system to maximize biomass production. The project team will also test several hatchery techniques to improve seeding efficiency. Under the Phase I award, the team performed initial proof-of-concept tests and a technoeconomic analysis to show the potential benefit of their proposed technologies and experimental plan. Those results indicated that the proposed technologies have the potential to reduce the cost of biomass to $80/dry metric ton.
If successful, MARINER projects strive to develop the tools needed to allow the United States to become a world leader in marine biomass production for multiple important applications, including the production of biofuels.