You are here: Home Marine Renewables Research

Marine Renewables Research


"Marine energy and sustainable futures through research and innovation"

With governments setting stringent targets to reduce fossil fuel consumption, the race is on to develop new renewable power technologies. The marine environment offers numerous opportunities, from exploiting wind, waves or tides to harnessing the intense productivity of marine plants. While exploiting the sea sidesteps a multitude of problems on land, these new industries have potential for significant environmental impacts of their own.

The Marine Renewables Theme combines the multidisciplinary skills of our established researchers and specifically hired staff to provide expert scientific research and advice to help harness the full potential of marine power and understand its environmental impacts. Our expertise feeds into many aspects of marine renewable energy production.

Offshore windfarmOur work divides into three sub-themes:

  1. Biofuels from macro-algae
  2. Biofuels from micro-algae and
  3. Environmental interactions


Contact information


Biofuels from macroalgae

Seaweeds cultured on massive scale in China 2 (M Kelly, SAMS)SAMS conducts research that investigates the use of seaweeds as a source of biomass for ethanol and methane biofuels. We are investigating the coastal potential for collecting and/or cultivating seaweeds, and study a range of contender species considering growth capabilities, fuel potential, fermentation/digestion procedures and their scale-up promise.

The following projects are addressing this issue:


Main research staff interested in biofuel generation from macroalgae are:


Biofuels from microalgae

Botryococcus cell oozing oil by Gordon Beakes, Uni of NewcastleMicroalgae (microbes) can act as a source of oils for biofuels. We are evaluating the feasibility and viability of producing biofuels from microalgae, screen our Culture Collection for Algae and Protozoa for new strains of oil producing microalgae and aim to select and characterise suitable strains. We apply conventional and molecular DNA-chip technologies and conduct process and product optimisation trials. Finally we are interested in scale up and process optimisation studies.

The following lead scientists are involved with biofuel from microalgae research:


The following large research projects investigate this sub-theme:



Environmental interaction of marine renewable energy devices


Within this sub-theme we investigate the following topics:


Who do we work with?

We play an active role in the sustainable development, regulation and capacity of a variety of associated marine industries. Being independent we work directly with industry, regulators, government and the public. Based in Scotland, our neighbouring waters are an immediate focus but our research is international and finds global application.

We work closely with the UHI Energy Research Group and North Highland College’s Environmental Research Institute.

Contact us
Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA
T: 01631 559000
F: 01631 559001