About the speaker:
Urd leads the ORF research and innovation projects. She is an expert in environmental biology and geography and holds an industrial PhD in macroalgal cultivation. Urd has been working with seaweeds for more than 10 years, especially seeding of kelps and the red algae Palmaria palmata and monitoring growth at sea. Also, she has analysed the chemical composition of the cultivated seaweeds. Urd has been working with the company since 2014. email: email@example.com
Ocean Rainforest Sp/F (ORF) is one of the largest seaweed farmers in Europe. With a well-tested open ocean macroalgal cultivation rig (MACR) the company can grow Saccharina latissima in high wave and exposed areas. The activities of ORF spans the entire supply chain – from producing seeding material to cultivation and maintenance at sea to the processing into a storage stable product. The seaweed is being sold as food and feed additives for improving human and animal gut health and well-being.
The annual production capacity in the Faroe Islands is 500 tonnes wet weight (ww) but the ambition of the company is to scale up this production to 1 Mio tonnes ww in 2030. Building on the work done in the Faroe Islands with S. latissima, ORF wants to implement the methodology and rig system in new regions outside of the Faroe Islands. A major challenge is, however, to get licenses and sea space available for example in the North Sea where competition for marine space is high.
The fact that sea space has already been allocated for wind energy as wind parks are fast developing in the North Sea to supply green energy, gives a great commercial potential for co-use with seaweed farming and windmill parks in the same areas with the win-win situation of environmental, social and economic benefits.
The feasibility of this theoretical idea that has barely been tested in situ yet will be of interest of ORF in the coming years. The challenge of the North Sea is expected to be a higher sea temperature, lower water depth (less water motion) and more turbulent sea column (less light penetration) that may affect the yield negatively.