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Korea Leads Marine Biofuel Industry Updated: 2011-05-16 12:00:00 KST

Korea Leads Marine Biofuel Industry
Marine plants are being cultivated in waters off the southwestern coast of Korea.
This is seaweed named gracilaria, which was used generations ago to treat fevers.
However, nowadays, this plant is primarily used as a raw material in cosmetic goods and healthy foodstuffs.


[Interview : Lee Sung-bae, Fisherman] "In the past gracilaria didn't used to grow this big. But recently, through aquaculture, they grow long and we produce greater yields."

Gracilaria, which grows in both tropical and temperate waters, has also been identified as an important energy source.
This is a bio-ethanol research institute in Goheung County, South Jeolla Province.
A bio-ethanol plant is being built at the site and this institute was the first in the world to secure the technology to create bio-ethanol.


[Interview : Shin Jin-hyuk, Researcher] "We are carrying out various tests with marine plants such as agar-agar and gracilaria."

Bio-ethanol is made after extracting sugars from seaweed, which is then put through an oxidation process.
What is good about using these marine plants is that they are not staple crops like corn and there is no need to worry about securing land to produce them.


[Interview : Shin Myung-kyo, CEO & Vice President
Biolsystems] "We believe that using marine resources will be crucial in solving energy issues in the future."

Goheung County has already made a 15-hectare-aquafarm in waters off the Philippines and is planning to expand it to 100 hectares.
It is also expected to invest a total of 15 billion won, or 13.8 million US dollars over the next three years in the marine biofuel business.
Marine bio-ethanol has been selected as one of the government's 17 new growth engine industries and in the top 10 core technologies in the renewable energy sector.


[Interview : Park Byeong-chong, Mayor
Goheung County] "Our county is close to actually producing the biofuel and this will enable Goheung to dominate the market in advance and take the initiative in the new growth industry."

Once commercialized, marine bio-ethanol, which will be test produced starting the end of this year, is expected to create added value worth almost 240 million dollars and create 30-thousand new jobs by 2015.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News.
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