Under the European Union initiative, experts from the country will join forces with their counterparts in Northern Ireland and Scotland to see how energy sources can be created from the marine algae and seaweed found in areas of sea the three countries share.

Specifically, specialists at the Institute of Technology in Dundalk will lead the work, with Ireland’s energy minister Eamon Ryan explaining that the green energy initiative could have massive implications for businesses and households over the coming years.

In a statement welcoming the launch of the project, he said: “I believe the premise of the project is both exciting and potentially very significant – that marine algae can be harvested, processed and then utilised as a green energy source. There is huge potential for this, provided it can be proven as viable.”

Across the water, Scotland’s Alex Salmond has expressed similar enthusiasm, stating that algae could form a viable alternative to land-based biofuels.

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