University scientists looking at the feasibility of using seaweed that washes up on Manx beaches as biogas have launched a questionnaire into residents’ energy attitudes.
The online questionnaire covers the level of support for development of different energy support in the island, including biomass, onshore and offshore wind farms, tidal power and solar energy.
Advantages and disadvantages of each of these sources are then looked at.
Participants’ attitudes towards the environment are examined – how much they agree or disagree with statements such as ‘The Earth is like a spaceship, with very limited room and resources’.
Felicity Greenwell, one of the team of researchers, said: ‘We will gather all responses together to create a report which may be used for academic publication and for the MEA and Manx government to see.
‘We have no political/environmental/financial agenda and are just interested in people’s thoughts – whatever they may be.’
The feasibility study is exploring the ecological and social potential for seaweed to provide an alternative gas supply source. The island is being considered as a case study to identify ‘real barriers and solutions’ for the potential of seaweed growth from across UK coastal waters.
Growth will be assessed in four areas around the island’s coastline.
Sociological and technological feasibility studies are also being carried out by Durham University Business School researchers to address public acceptability and stakeholder perceptions towards this technology.
Dr John Bothwell has said the removal of seaweed from Douglas beach is about the least damaging way to get some benefit from seaweed biomass without affecting the environment.
But he said there was definitely potential to scale up the amount of biomass that’s being turned into bioenergy. He said cultivating very large amounts of seaweed offshore might affect existing marine life, for better or worse.
The questionnaire can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/s/IoMEnergy