Seaweeds are fascinating. To unlock their potential we work in close cooperation with international research institutions.

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Development of network for seaweed production in Agder
In the beginning of 2017 Norway Seaweed received 500 000 NOK from the regional authorities of Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. The funding is provided to support our project "Development of network for seaweed production in Agder". This is a two-year project with the aim to build a network of local suppliers, partners and research institution, which can contribute with their knowledge, skills, equipment, services, etc. to successful development of seaweed production industry in Sothern Norway.

There is an increasing focus in Norway on utilization of marine resources, including cultivation of seaweeds. There are several seaweed producers which are mostly located in other regions of Norway. Seaweed industry is still in the early stage in Europe and there is plenty of room for improvements both in biology, cultivation methods, technology and product development. Norway with its long coast line and clean waters has access to huge marine resources. There is a developed infrastructure for fisheries, aquaculture and processing. And there is also a lot of local knowledge about the sea. In Agder we have several research institutions, international companies in maritime, offshore and process industry. At the same time, we compete with other countries with lower labor costs.

We believe the answer is to build upon existing foundation – work smarter, adapting technologies from other industries, use local knowledge, develop network and build platform for cooperation with relevant local companies and researchers.

That's why in this project we would like to identify possibilities for cost-efficient seaweed production in Southern Norway in cooperation with other local partners.

Partners in this project have hands-on experience in blue mussels and seaweed production, as well as equipment, licenses and infrastructure.

The project will contribute to development of cooperation between several companies to secure cost-efficient production of seaweeds, blue mussels and potentially other marine resources at the same area, sharing infrastructure and reducing operational costs.

The project was supported by Aust-Agder, Vest-Agder and The Research Council of Norway.
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.

Local Production
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
  • Anchoring systems
  • Positioning sensors and alarm systems
  • Underwater inspection
  • Corrosion control
  • Underwater harvesting
  • 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.
In 2017 Norway Seaweed participated in a large national project MACROSEA together with SINTEF Ocean and 10 other seaweed producers. As a part of MACROSEA project we grew seaweeds on two locations in Southern Norway from February to August 2017.

In total 10 seaweed producers participated in the project along coast of Norway, following the same protocols for seaweed production, regularly measuring growth, taking samples for analysis of DNA and biochemistry of seaweeds at different depths and locations.

The MACROSEA project will target successful and predictable production of high quality biomass thereby making significant steps towards industrial macroalgae cultivation in Norway.

The project has a budget of NOK 25 million

SINTEF Ocean leads the project. Research partners are the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Oslo, the University of Bergen, The Arctic University of Norway, Akvaplan Niva and the Norwegian Institute of Water Research, in addition to partners from Scotland, Denmark, China and USA and a strong industry group.

The primary objective is to establish an interdisciplinary knowledge platform on fundamental production biology and technology for macroalgae cultivation over a wide range of climatic, ecological and physical conditions.

Secondary objectives are:
  • To increase the principal knowledge on biological performance and environmentalrequirements for optimized chemical composition and biomass production
  • To obtain technological specifications and develop generic model and simulation tools for farm systems and biomass production.
The brown kelps Saccharinalatissima and Alaria esculenta (large volumes, low value), and the red alga Palmaria palmata (small volumes, high value) will be studied as promising species for industrial cultivation in Norway.

The project will deliver knowledge on seedling quality, sea cultivation, fouling and diseases and functional genetics of selected brown and red macroalgae species.

Growth models for these species will be developed and coupled with 3D hydrodynamics‐ecosystem models to estimate site‐dependent biomass production, and methods for efficient seeding, deployment and harvest. Drag forces and deformation of different farm systems at different sea states will be determined in flume tank experiments. A numerical model for simulation and visualization of farm designs in dynamic marine systems will be developed.