Narrator: This is Science Today. In an ongoing effort to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels, researchers at the University of California, San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography are looking to the ocean for next-generation biofuel solutions. Research biologist Greg Mitchell says it all starts with photosynthesis and marine algae.
Mitchell: The organisms we study in the sea grow in sea water - it's salt water, salt water is not good for human drinking or for our cows to drink or for irrigation water. However, we can grow the algae in sea water and we can put the growth systems on non-arable land that can't otherwise be used for agriculture. So we can have a huge impact on producing biofuel in feed protein on non-arable land using sea water, therefore saving our precious top soils and saving our precious water, which is going to be a crisis.
Narrator: Mitchell admits there are many challenges to go from lab-based studies to commercially-viable products, but the key will be working with other researchers in an integrated way. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.