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Seaweed biofuel: How to farm marine plants

1 July 2013 Last updated at 00:12 BST

Scientists are farming seaweed next to the tiny north-western island of Kerrera as part of an international project to produce seaweed-based biofuel.

This farm is one of three trials in the inshore waters off the coasts of Norway, Scotland and Ireland, which are growing sugar kelp on textile mats suspended in the water.

This experimental harvest will reveal which textile produces the best "carpet of seaweed".

Some experts suggest that producing fuel from seaweed is too expensive to make it viable as a business, but these researchers say they could have commercial-scale farms within a decade. Selling the seaweed for other purposes - as a food or a cosmetic ingredient for example - could increase the value of the crop.

Local resident Duncan MacEachen explained to BBC News what this new technology could bring to this remote region. And Dr Phil Kerrison from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (Sams) describes how this novel "aquaculture" works.

Video journalist: Victoria Gill

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