New products from cultivated seaweed for blue-green value chains (GP Seaweed) aims to expand the kelp farming in Norway to industrial-scale production of new, sustainable and climate positive products from kelp that will accelerate the industry and pave the way for Norway being a leading nation for kelp and seaweed cultivation internationally.
The main focus will be on products within four market areas: food ingredients, animal feed, bioplastics and soil improvement/biochar.
Food is the major application of the enormous Asian production of cultivated seaweed. For the European market, where food safety is of high priority, Norwegian producers are already in the forefront of technology development to ensure safe levels of undesired constituents (e.g. iodine, heavy metals, allergens). GP Seaweed will contribute to developments needed for scale-up of the technologies, reducing processing costs, and for tailoring of the pre-processing towards different products.
Feed ingredients from cultivated seaweed are currently only used in low volumes in organic agriculture, however, ongoing research at NTNU and SINTEF will provide important knowledge on the effects of individual seaweed components and their potential as functional ingredients.
Plastics based on seaweed polysaccharides will, in addition to replacing fossil-based products, be biodegradable and thus not create environmental problems such as marine pollution and the spreading of microplastics.
Products for agriculture based on biochar (bio coal) and functional extracts will ensure permanent removal of carbon from the carbon cycle combined with soil improvement, thus enabling positive long-term environmental and societal effects. These two applications will be important drivers for increasing the biomass volume demand.
The project is a part of the The Research Council of Norway's Green Platform Initiative.