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kelp elevator biofuel growth USC research
A diver attaches seaweed to a prototype of a device called the “kelp elevator.” Raising and lowering the kelp on the elevator dramatically accelerates its growth, proving the potential for mass-produced seaweed to power vehicles with biofuel harvested from the ocean. (USC Photo/David Ginsburg)

USC scientists may have unlocked kelp’s potential as a major biofuel source

Using a “kelp elevator,” researchers at the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies were able to grow the biofuel crop in large quantities in the open ocean.

Science/Technology
USC Sloan Fellow sustainable energy research
Chemist Smaranda Marinescu, left, studies methods of storing energy from sunlight and other renewable sources. She recently received a prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. (USC Photo/Rhonda Hillbery)

Childhood love of chemistry leads to large-scale energy research and coveted Sloan Fellowship

After being inspired by science as a child in Romania, Smaranda Marinescu draws inspiration from nature to develop efficient and inexpensive catalysts for harnessing energy from renewable sources.

Science/Technology
Shewanella oneidensis bacteria illustration - a step towards a new sustainable energy solution
Scientist Moh El-Naggar studies bacteria that construct membrane wires to “breathe“ rock. This illustration depicts a wire composed of spherical vesicles containing electron-transporting proteins (red and green). (Illustration/Courtesy of Sahand Pirbadian, USC and Poorna Subramanian, Caltech)

Harnessing energy from living sources has potential for new sustainable technology

The nanowire structure and electron transfer process of a unique bacterium could provide a sustainable energy solution.