*Green Gold in the NMI on Sunday, October 9, 2011

Green Gold in the NMI on Sunday, October 9, 2011 INDUSTRIAL Technology Research Institute, a research institute in Taiwan, is collaborating with Pacific-green Integrated Technology Inc. to promote the potential of a seaweed industry in the CNMI. Representatives from ITRI, Andy Chen-Tair Huang and Ping-Hsin Hsia, conducted an initial feasibility study on Sunday, Oct. 9. Accompanied by PITI vice president Bang Chen and Rick Cruz and Christopher Fryling, they surveyed potential agricultural areas for seaweed production. They are promoting an “Economic Resurgence Plan” which involves a solar thermal and seaweed biomass hybrid power plant, a seaweed marine farm and seaweed co-products.

The hybrid power plant, Bang Chen explained, stores the heat from the sun and will provide power up until 11 p.m. to midnight. Afterward, it will continue to provide energy through biomass fuel from seaweed. Seaweed, which can be the CNMI’s “green gold,” is said to be proven better than corn and sugar as bio-fuel material. Solar thermal can provide up to 10 megawatts and biomass can provide 5 megawatts of power.

Rick Cruz said they are in partnership with Northern Marianas College-Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service to promote seaweed farming to local farmers. Cruz said they can provide the foundation, the technological system and the know-how of seaweed agriculture. Ping-Hsin Hsia talked about how seaweed is valuable in the food industry, cosmetics, medicines, textile, biomass and the paper industry. The industry proponents said Saipan is the perfect location for growing seaweed not only because of its lagoon but also because of its convenient location for shipping. Euchema, a type of seaweed, is currently priced at $1,300/ton while Carrageenans, a material extracted from Euchema, is valued at $50,000/ton. The harvesting period is 30-60 days with an annual harvest of 2,500 tons/40 acres.

‘Green gold’ in the NMI By Dhainee Pfafflin - Variety Junior Reporter on October, 2011