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So far as online records show, this word burst upon the world for the first time on 17 December 2008, in a press release announcing that European Union funding of €6m (£5m or $8.5m) had been won for the BioMara project. This is a cross-border project involving researchers from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The aim is to find ways to convert seaweeds and marine algae into fuels. One hope is that it will help rural communities in these countries, who may be able to use fast-growing seaweeds such as kelp to make a locally produced and cheap fuel that won’t take up valuable agricultural land. Mari-fuel is an obvious parallel to the better-known agri-fuel, for fuels derived from agricultural products.

The development of mari-fuels could have a lasting impact on remote and rural communities by providing locally produced, relatively cheap, low impact fuel as well as serving the local public transport infrastructure.

Daily Telegraph, 18 Dec. 2008

Motorists may soon be driving cars powered by kelp and algae after scientists in Scotland and Ireland won European funding today for a new research project to create “mari-fuels” — the marine equivalent to plant-based biofuels.

Guardian, 18 Dec. 2008

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 10 Jan. 2009

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-mar1.htm
Last modified: 10 January 2009.