Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources (MARINER)

Due Date: Full Proposal: 
February 14, 2017

Concept paper:  The overall goal of this program is to develop the critical tools that will allow the nascent macroalgae industry in the United States to leverage this tremendous resource and grow into a world leader in the production of marine biomass. The program will focus on developing advanced cultivation technologies that enable the cost and energy efficient production of macroalgal biomass in the ocean at a scale suitable as feedstock for the production of fuels and chemicals. The challenge is to dramatically reduce capital and operating cost of macroalgae cultivation, while significantly increasing the range of deployment by expanding into more exposed, off-shore environments. Specifically, this program is interested in new designs and approaches to macroalgae cultivation, with harvesting and transport being an integral part of such systems. These new systems may leverage new material and engineering solutions, and autonomous and robotic operations, as well as advanced sensing and monitoring capabilities. To further accelerate the development and deployment of such systems, the program will also focus on the development of computational modeling tools and ocean- deployable sensor platforms, as well as advanced macroalgal breeding tools. ARPA-E expects that the MARINER program will support development of technologies that will accelerate the deployment of advanced ocean farming systems capable of delivering renewable biomass feedstock at a cost competitive with terrestrial biomass feedstocks.