Live-streaming video - Live-streaming video offers individuals and brands a direct way to engage and connect. With so many of us working remotely, there’s never been a better t...
Europe’s First Sustainable Seaweed Farm
A pilot seaweed farm, Europe’s first, was opened officially on July 7. And it’s not just a seaweed farm; researchers involved are dedicated to developing an environmentally friendly seaweed cultivation system.
“With large-scale seaweed cultivation, you can reduce the pressure on land and clean up the oceans,” Dr. Willem Brandenburg, who is part of the research team at Wageningen University and Research Center, said in the university’s magazine Resource.
The pilot project is the result of a contest organized by Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), the executive arm of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. RWS organized the contest to stimulate multifunctional spatial development initiatives for the waterways.
Crucial in the sustainability quest is the location of the farm. By placing seaweed farms in nutritious environments, the crops do not require any added fertilizers and will clean up the water. Rivers worldwide transport approximately 30 million tons of phosphates to the sea, and seaweed could absorb some of that naturally.
Or seaweed production could be used to environmentally upgrade fisheries. For example, Hortimare, part of the consortium involved in the pilot project, develops seaweed cultivars that are currently used as water purifiers in Norwegian salmon cultivation, according to a press release.
Antagonistic to the sustainable approach is Asian seaweed farming, which is detrimental to the environment. Currently, 90 percent of the world’s seven million tons of seaweed produced is grown there. Asian seaweed is grown with fertilizers. Most of the fertilizer drifts off into the sea.
“This massive overload of nutrients damages the coastal ecosystem,” Brandenburg said in Resource.
So how is the European low-input farm doing? The first results are promising. Three indigenous seaweed species—sea lettuce, oarweed, and seabelt—grow on ropes dangling underneath a modest-sized floating frame approximately 64 square meters (690 sq. ft.) in size. The Dutch seawater proves to be sufficiently nutritious and no fertilizer is needed.
To develop a low-input cultivation system, the study also aims to provide insight into optimizing environmental factors like temperature and light.
“Chlorophytes mainly absorb red light, and you can grow them high up the rope where there is enough red light,” said Brandenburg in Resource. “Brown and red algae absorb the green and blue light from the spectrum and that is exactly the light that penetrates deeper into the water, so these species do better further down the rope.”
The next questions are how to upscale the pilot in an environmentally healthy way, how to harvest and partially process the seaweed at sea, and how to innovate bio-refinery techniques and improve economic returns.
Brandenburg exclaims in a TV-interview: “What I envision are really big farms in a while, which might be many thousands of square kilometers big at locations where that is possible. Where there is place to partially process the seaweeds, where transport is taken into account ... The sea has enough energy, so I'm envisioning a whole new economy.”
And once the pilot farm is upgraded so that a region of the sea twice the size of Portugal would be covered in seaweed farms that produce fast-growing, high-quality protein crops, this then could provide the protein needed for the growing world population.
As an alternative to turning nature into arable lands or intensifying current land-based production systems, “we could double food production on land, so that we can still feed the world in 2050,” Brandenburg said in Resource.
“But then there will be a big problem for the elephants and pandas that we would also like to keep alive,” he added.
Experts from 22 countries will attend the 9th International Meeting on Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, which will be held here f...
Hundreds of stakeholders from across the continent gathered here recently for the Seventh African Development Forum, or ADF VII, to discu...
The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and World Stage Design 2013 are currently seeking proposals for the competition to design a sus...
The University of Maziar, in collaboration with Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) organize "The...
The annual joint conference of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which begins next week in Bonn, Germany, will ...
The Amsterdam College of Mayor and Alderpersons has outlined new plans to increase the pace of improving sustainability in the Dutch cap...
Micro combined heat and power or micro-CHP or mCHP is an extension of the idea of cogeneration to the single/multi family home or small of...
"China's Top 100 Green Companies", brought forward by the Daonong Centre for Enterprises and the Green Herald Magazine, wh...
“The operating principle for an East Asian community needs to be sustainable development .” The 2011 Asia Future Forum (AFF) wrapped...
The Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA) has been built to highest energy efficiency and green building standards and will serve as the ...