Seaweed biomass cultivation trials concluding for at-sea project

By Chris Hanson | July 02, 2013

The three-year European biofuel and biomaterial project, At-Sea, will conclude its first trials of seaweed cultivation off the coasts of Norway, Scotland and Ireland the end of the week of July 1.  

At-Sea, which began in April 2012, addresses the challenge of mass harvesting of seaweed taking into consideration high European labor costs, the avoidance of destructive beach harvesting and the need for large-scale reliability. “The At-Sea project aims to make mass cultivation of seaweeds in Europe’s near-shore locations technically and economically feasible by creating textile substrates that can endure the harsh conditions that they are exposed to as the seaweed grows,” said Bert Groenendaal, coordinator of the At-Sea project.

Trial results will be assessed by the 11 project partners and lead towards developing second generation textiles for the next growing season in the fall. By developing efficient, growing textiles, the project hopes to demonstrate how seaweed biomass can be a viable alternative to land-based feedstock production for biofuels and bio-based materials.

Norwegian, Scottish and Irish coasts were selected for the trials to expose the textiles do varying oceanic, environmental and climatic conditions on different latitudes.