Blue Garden was initiated at an Idea Lab facilitated by the The Research Council of Norway in June 2016. The idea lab focused on knowledge and technology transfers between ocean industries. A number of participants joined the project based on an idea launched by Cecilie Mauritzen from NIVA. Norway Seaweed AS was part of the Blue Garden team from the start.
Blue Garden was conceived at (and received pilot funding) at a 3-day workshop organized by the Norwegian Research Council in June 2016. The Blue Garden team suggested to create a knowledge center to support small-scale actors interested in cultivation and processing of seaweed for human consumption. The arguments are plentiful: As opposed to animals, which utilize oxygen and produce CO2, macroalgae such as seaweeds utilize CO2 and produce oxygen; growing of plants in the oceans requires less energy than fish and other animal farming, and requires no fertilization and no vaccines; internationally, the market for these products is enormous; Norwegian waters are cold and clean, which is essential to building a successful seaweed industry.
– The Norwegian coastline has excellent conditions for sustainable growth of a variety of seaweed species, Mauritzen states. – We want to utilise this large potential for food production and encourage small farmers all along the coast to join in this new industry. We held two very engaging workshops that effectively broke down the barriers between academia and industry and led to a proposal for a full project.
An important part of the Blue Garden concept is to farm seaweed locally along the Norwegian coast. The project will serve small farmers by offering competence, network, production guidance, marketing and general facilitation for seaweed growth.
Today only small per cent of the world’s food production comes from the ocean. With an increasing world population and need for food there will be an escalating demand for seaweed in the years to come. Norwegian players are in position to produce and deliver high-quality seaweeds for human food both for domestic use and export.
A Demand for Subsea Technology
Competence from the subsea industry can be of importance to develop the Norwegian seaweed industry. Several demands have already been addressed by the participants in Blue Garden. Amongst these are:
Vertical positioning of growing ropes related to heavy swell and waves
Online environmental sensoring and monitoring
Positioning sensors and alarm systems
Harvesting by using robots
Underwater cleaning and maintenance
The participants in the Blue Garden project, represents a variety of players connected to the growth of seaweed. Blue Garden hosts competence and knowhow within topics as biology, technology, R&D, networking and organising.
Blue Garden has participants from the following organisations: Norway Seaweed AS, TANGO Seaweed AS, Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), UKAP AS, Bergen Prison, Christian Michelsen Research, Møreforsking AS, Algetun AS, SINTEF, AgriAnalyse, University of Oslo, Seaforest AS, Maritim Forening Sogn og Fjordane and GCE Subsea.
See more news about Blue Garden project: Links to posts from the blog.