Norway – Norway has embarked on a pioneering journey to explore the vast potential of large-scale seaweed cultivation as a sustainable and cost-effective solution for ocean-based carbon removal.
The newly established seaweed farm off the coast of Trøndelag signifies a significant step in the ongoing global quest for effective carbon capture and storage methods. Researchers and industry leaders in Norway have initiated a three-year pilot project named JIP Seaweed Carbon Solutions, allocating a budget of NOK 50 million. The collaboration includes key players such as SINTEF, DNV, Equinor, Aker BP, Wintershall Dea, and Ocean Rainforest. The primary goal is to investigate if kelp, through large-scale cultivation, can become a viable solution for ocean-based carbon removal.
Beyond emission reduction
While many initiatives focus on reducing emissions, the uniqueness of this project lies in its emphasis on researching how already emitted carbon dioxide (CO₂) can be removed from the atmosphere. Researchers are not only exploring the carbon removal potential of seaweed but also examining the possibilities of using chemical processes to transform seaweed into biochar for soil improvement.
The licensed aquaculture site, spanning 200 hectares, is prepared to receive the first seaweed seedlings cultivated in laboratories. The multi-functional demonstration site allows researchers to test innovative aquaculture technologies, monitor biomass and the environment, optimize cultivation strategies, and develop technology for biomass harvesting. The first harvest is anticipated in the summer of 2024, with an estimated seaweed yield of approximately 150 tons in the first season. Although this may seem modest in comparison to global emissions, the project’s initial goal is to establish proof of concept before scaling up the technology.