The government has decided to fund experiments on turning two macroscopic algae into the raw materials for biofuel production, expanding sources from land plants to marine flora as prices for oil and grain continue to increase, Council of Agriculture (COA) officials said.
The two chosen subjects for the experiments are gracilaria and sargassum, they said, adding that both are rich in polysaccharide that can be transformed to ethanol (alcohol) to produce gasohol.
They said the "algal ethanol" can be an alternative ingredient for commercial gasohol once production capacity achieves sufficient economy of scale.
"Algae is not a choice that comes out of the blue," they said.
Researchers worldwide have long intended to apply lipid-laced algae to biofuel production but have been hampered by high extraction costs and low conversion rates.
According to the COA, gracilaria -- a genus of red algae -- has been widely farmed along the coast of Taiwan for decades, as it is a food source for humans as well as various species of farmed shellfish. The farming area of gracilaria was 253 hectares in 2006.
However, the officials said that demand for gracilaria dropped several years ago and COA researchers at the Fisheries Research Institute started studies to discover possible alternative uses.
"We have found that gracilaria contains compounds suitable for cosmetics, and now we hope we can prove it is also valuable for biofuel," a researcher said. "In the case of the sargassum, we chose it for its high output volume."
According to a previous study, sargassum has 10 times the output volume of gracilaria.
Aside from its other benefits the algae can also serve as an ecology-balancing agent as it absorbs carbon dioxide and prevents eutrophication in bodies of water, the officials said.
Liya Chu (朱如茵), whose parents are New York-based Taiwanese restaurateurs, has been crowned the champion of US television cooking competition MasterChef Junior, after wowing the judges, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, with a feast of fusion cuisine. In the finale of the show’s eighth season, broadcast on Thursday, Chu walked away with US$100,000 after serving a spread of spiced duck breast with scallion pancakes and miso eggplant, followed by coconut pandan panna cotta with a passion fruit coulis and sesame tuille. Chu, who was 10 years old at the time of filming three years ago, faced off against then-11-year-old Grayson Price from
A university student has gained the spotlight for an interactive map he designed detailing all of China’s military bases and installations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Soochow University music student Joseph Wen (溫約瑟), who calls himself an amateur military enthusiast, said he created the map to “help people better understand the cross-strait situation.” Wen originally posted the map online on June 14 last year, but it gained greater attention after he mentioned it during an appearance on a China Television talk show. On the show, Wen said he had gathered information on the locations from publicly available Web sites, as
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,
Opening-day ticket sales for a horror exhibition at the Tainan Art Museum were suspended twice on Saturday as the show attracted too many visitors. Titled “Ghosts and Hells: The Underworld in Asian art,” the exhibition runs until Oct. 16. It is the local version of a show that debuted at the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris. It was planned and curated by Julien Rousseau. The Tainan museum said that within an hour of its doors opening, more than 1,000 people had entered the exhibition. By noon, 3,000 physical and virtual tickets had been sold, while the museum had more than 4,000