The future lies in the sea: Seaweed as a biomass source
The steadily growing world population is creating an increasing demand for food, energy and housing. At the same time, arable land is becoming scarce and in many places is already over-farmed.
It is therefore necessary to explore new resources that are suitable for the effective and sustainable production of agricultural goods and energy. Marine algae, known as seaweed, play an important role in this.
The oceans offer the solution
The world’s oceans occupy approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface. However, this valuable biosphere has not yet been sufficiently exploited as a resource to solve supply shortages on land. With the help of green technology and the development of pilot projects for the use of seaweed, this gap is being closed.
Seaweed (macroalgae) is a rapidly renewable resource found particularly in coastal areas. As a renewable raw biomass, they are suitable to be converted into a variety of products. For example, they are industrially processed into biopolymers or used for energy production. In addition, macroalgae are already used in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
Biomass source with potential
In order for the use of seaweed to be scalable and usable for further industrial processing, responsible and regenerative production of the seaweed is required. This is realized by means of offshore rearing and harvesting platforms. Novel technologies for environmentally friendly industrial algae production open up access to a new biomass source.
At the same time, these concepts contribute to long-term CO2 storage. Seaweed binds carbon, which remains stored in the algae biomass even during the further processing process. While the solids are used, for example, as ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry or for conversion into bioplastics, the liquid phase is suitable for energy recovery and thus as a raw material for the production of green hydrogen.
The use of macroalgae in combination with sustainable cultivation thus not only makes an important contribution to solving the climate problem, but also has a number of advantages over agriculture on land.