Cultivation of the oceans is required to meet demands for food, feed, materials and energy for a growing global population. Norway, with one of the world's longest tempered and productive coastlines, can take a leading role. With MACROSEA (www.macrosea.no, 2016-2019), Norway has created an interdisciplinary knowledge platform on macroalgae production biology and technology, to make significant steps towards industrial cultivation.
MACROSEA has contributed to systematic research and delivered generic knowledge on seedling quality, sea cultivation, and genetics of selected brown and red macroalgae species. Models of brown and red species have been developed and coupled to 3D hydrodynamic-ecosystem models to estimate site-dependent biomass production. Methods for efficient seedling, deployment and harvest have been assessed and drag forces and deformation of different farm systems determined at different sea states by using numerical tools.
Three prototypes of seaweed cultivation equipment, a model for kelp cultivation potential and a numeric tool for structural design of kelp farms have been developed. The project has reached out through 80 talks, 10 popular- and 10 scientific articles, 10 reports, 1 book chapter, 55 media articles and 4 movies, and contributed to the education of 6 PhD and 10 MSc-students. The final "MACROSEA Open Day", which was arranged as a joint conference with SIG Seaweed and the new RCN-funded Knowledge platform Norwegian Seaweed Biorefinery Platform (2019-2023) in Trondheim in November 2019, gathered about 150 participants from national and international industry and research and national funding bodies and authorities.
The results will contribute to predictable production of biomass and development of enabling technologies for industrial macroalgae cultivation in Norway.
The project was headed by SINTEF Ocean with NTNU, Akvaplan-Niva, NIVA, UiB, UiO and UiT as national research partners, Clarkson University, Aarhus University, SAMS and IOCAS as international research partners and Austevoll Seaweed Farm, Biokraft, Folla Alger, Hortimare, Ocean Forest, PE Reefs, Seaweed and Seaweed Energy Solutions as associated industry partners.
The MACROSEA project will target successful and predictable production of high quality biomass thereby making significant steps towards industrial macroalgae cultivation in Norway.
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: (i) to increase the principal knowledge on biological performance and environmental requirements for optimized chemical composition and biomass production, and (ii) to obtain technological specifications and develop generic model and simulation tools for farm systems and biomass production. The brown kelps Saccharina latissima 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.
The project has a budget of NOK 25 million over the period 2016-2019. SINTEF Ocean will lead 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.