BIDDEFORD (AP) — A Maine university is receiving more than $1.3 million in federal money to develop methods for the U.S. to become a leader at utilizing seaweed for uses such as energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy is giving the money to the University of New England over three years. The award is part of a program called Macroalgae Research Inspiring Novel Energy Resources, or “MARINER.”

The university says the program aims to develop tools to enable the U.S. to become a leading producer of seaweed to help with energy security and economic competitiveness.

Seaweed can be used for transportation fuels, chemicals and foods. University President James Herbert says the DOE award will help students “be a part of a movement to pioneer the next generation of marine products.”

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