Project: OFFSHORE CULTIVATION OF SEAWEED

Goal_x000D_The goal in SEAWEED-STAR is to develop a cost efficient and sustainable large-scale offshore seaweed cultivation system, based on the principles of the Seaweed Carrier cultivation concept._x000D__x000D_Background_x000D_The ocean covers 73% of our planet and 50% of the world’s photosynthesis already occur in the ocean. Despite this, all bio-fuels operations in the world are land-based using terrestrial crops._x000D__x000D_Growing seaweed in farms covering an area of just 0.05 percent of Europe’s ocean areas would yield a yearly production of 75 million tons of seaweed. This biomass could be converted into an estimated 3.2 billion litres of ethanol corresponding to 1,6 % of Europe’s current consumption of petroleum- derived vehicle fuels or about 20 TWh of energy. Marine ethanol could replace 114 thousand hectares of potential food-growing land currently being used for or converted to biofuel production. The potential is thus substantial in Europe, but even greater globally. _x000D__x000D_The SEAWEED-STAR project will qualify and bring towards the market a radical new technology for exploiting our oceans’ biomass potential in a sustainable way that is compatible with other uses of the marine space._x000D__x000D_The timing of this project is excellent and urgent. The worldwide demand for renewable transport fuel is rising rapidly and strict governmental targets are set to meet the need. Seaweed grows faster than any terrestrial plant, large areas are available (the ocean), large scale farming of seaweed is proven (millions of tons by traditional near-shore methods) and conversion to biogas and ethanol has been proven in the laboratory with reasonable yields. Marine biomass presents no conflict with food supplies, land use changes and demand for fresh water. Seaweed has a great potential as feedstock for biofuel production in coastal regions around the world._x000D__x000D_SES, the Lead SME of this project was created to address this challenge. Traditionally, all seaweed cultivation is done using ropes in various combinations. We asked ourselves: “Why ropes?” Ropes have been around for centuries and it was only natural for the first seaweed farmers to use this as the material of choice to grow seaweed on. For industrial scale offshore cultivation, however it would make more sense to grow seaweeds on large carriers of a specific material, and the Seaweed Carrier is our proposed solution._x000D__x000D_The patented Seaweed Carrier (see illustration in Seaweed Star Annex) is the cornerstone of the SEAWEED-STAR project. It represents a step innovation over seaweed cultivation methods that have all been based on ropes. It can be seen as an example of bio-mimicry – the Seaweed Carrier is designed mimicking nature’s own approach to ensure survivability in the open ocean, developed over millions of years. The carrier moves in the water as a large seaweed – swinging freely back and forth depending on the strength of the waves and the currents. It can be moored in deeper more exposed water, has few moving parts, allows for easy deployment and harvesting and there is no risk of mammal entanglement. One aim is that the carrier material can be processed together with the seaweed into biofuel. _x000D__x000D_Consortium_x000D_SEAWEED-STAR is led by an ambitious technology SME holding a strong patent to a new enabling technology solution. SES has since 2006 built up know-how in the whole value chain, from seaweed species selection to production of feedstocks for biomass and biofuels. SES has been able to attract world-leading Ps and sub-contractors possessing “best-in-class-skills” necessary to meet the project goals. Below we introduce the Eurostars Consortium partnes, including one other Research Intensive SME._x000D__x000D_The P Aqualine AS, based in Norway, is a global leader in fish-farming structures. They will apply their know-how of marine flexible structures and anchoring to the challenging, but principally comparable task of engineering a reliable Seaweed Carrier rig and mooring system._x000D__x000D_The P Stolt Sea Farm, a Spanish company, is a world leading fish farming company. They contribute with their know-how of hatcheries and the availability of their infrastructure to facilitate seeding of pilot Seaweed Carriers._x000D__x000D_CIIMAR (Portugal) is a well known in the field of seaweed biology R&D and will contribute with their knowledge in specie-selection, seeding and on-growing._x000D__x000D_WINDS Enterprises based in Hong Kong is a Chinese company focusing on the development and manufacturing of specialty materials. In addition to having current business in the world’s largest growth market in East Asia, it has the required qualifications to develop the ideal material for the on-growing material part of the Seaweed Carrier._x000D__x000D_Innovation contributions will also come from sub-contractors, each of which have specialist skills for specific elements in the project; Wave Energy Center (marine energy projects), CITEVE (material testing centre), NTNU (marine biology and bioremediation).

Acronym SEAWEED-STAR (Reference Number: 6027)
Duration 03/01/2011 - 31/12/2013
Project Topic - The ocean is the next unexplored frontier for mankind. _x000D_ - Seaweed – the fastest growing plant on the planet – grows there. _x000D_ - The Seaweed Carrier will make it possible to cultivate the ocean mass scale. _x000D_ - The Seaweed-Star project will make this happen.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
WINDS Enterprises has been the project's participant based in China handling the material development and sourcing for both synthetic and natural fiber materials for Seaweed carriers. Up to now different kinds of materials and carriers have been developed and introduced by Winds for testing. Having a big group of material experts in China WINDS is ready to supply the required functional materials and carriers for seaweed cultivation and side process in next steps.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 5

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
5 CENTRO INTERDISCIPLINAR DE INVESTIGACAO MARINHA E AMBIENTAL Partner Portugal
5 SEAWEED ENERGY SOLUTIONS AS Coordinator Norway
5 AQUALINE AS Partner Norway
5 STOLT SEA FARM S.A. Partner Spain
5 WINDS ENTERPRISES LIMITED Partner China