The cultivation of European kelp for bioenergy: Site and species selection

Philip D. Kerrison, Michele S. Stanley, Maeve D. Edwards, Kenneth D. Black, Adam D. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Citations (Scopus)


Seaweeds are receiving increasing attention as third generation biofuels, which do not compete for land or freshwater with agricultural crops and have a high polysaccharide content. Seaweed growth is dependent on the presence of suitable physical and chemical conditions. The selection of cultivation sites with suitable characteristics is therefore essential for the successful establishment of European seaweed mariculture. The growth conditions of the site directly impact the biomass yield and composition of the crop, which in turn control the conversion efficiency of biomass to bioenergy. This review focuses on three European brown phaeophyte kelp species which may be suitable for large-scale offshore cultivation: Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima and Sacchoriza polyschides. It describes the known responses of each to a number of important physical and chemical parameters: temperature, salinity, water motion, nutrient concentrations, carbon dioxide/pH, light and ultra-violet radiation. It also reports density effects on their growth rate and what is known concerning the impact of disease and grazing. Conclusions are made on the conditions necessary for the optimal growth of each species for biofuel production. Where conditions are sub-optimal, this review has made recommendations for the most suitable species for a particular set of environmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages13
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Early online date5 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


  • Kelp
  • Laminaria digitata
  • Saccharina latissima
  • Sacchoriza polyschides
  • Cultivation
  • Site selection


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