Bioethanol is a potential alternative fuel to fossil fuels. Bioethanol as a fuel has several economic and environmental benefits. Though bioethanol is produced using starch and sugarcane juice, these materials are in conflict with food availability. To avoid food–fuel conflict, the second-generation bioethanol production by utilizing nonfood lignocellulosic materials has been extensively investigated. However, due to the complexity of lignocellulose architecture, the process is complicated and not economically competitive. The cultivation of lignocellulosic energy crops indirectly affects the food supplies by extensive land use. Marine algae have attracted attention to replace the lignocellulosic feedstock for bioethanol production, since the algae grow fast, do not use land, avoid food–fuel conflict and have several varieties to suit the cultivation environment. The composition of algae is not as complex as lignocellulose due to the absence of lignin, which renders easy hydrolysis of polysaccharides to fermentable sugars. Marine organisms also produce cold-active enzymes for hydrolysis of starch, cellulose, and algal polysaccharides, which can be employed in bioethanol process. Marine microoorganisms are also capable of fermenting sugars under high salt environment. Therefore, marine biocatalysts are promising for development of efficient processes for bioethanol production. © 2017 Elsevier Inc.