Japan Scientists Say Floating Seaweed Can Fight Global Warming
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Huge water-borne farms can turn the tide against increasing greenhouse gases
If a group of Japanese scientists is to be believed, the fate of humanity may rest on colossal floating islands of sargassum and Sostera marina.
The team envisages 100 vast nets full of quick-growing seaweed, each measuring six miles by six miles, floating off the northeast coast of Japan.
The seaweed in each net, growing to a weight of 270,000 tonnes a year, will absorb prodigious quantities of greenhouse gases and convert them to oxygen before being harvested 12 months later as a rich source of biomass energy.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry mentioned carbon dioxide absorption by seaweed in its Technology Roadmap for 2005. The project is led by Masahiro Notoya, a world expert on seaweed from the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Dr Notoya believes that Sostera marina and sargassum, herded to the right parts of the ocean, will grow up to 40ft every year, absorbing about 36 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process. Those seaweeds are also popular fare for a variety of fish whose stocks have dwindled.
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