Seaweed has great potential to help tackle climate change by absorbing CO2 as it grows, and locating seaweed farms between offshore wind turbines uses untapped space in our oceans.
Amazon has announced it is funding the world’s first commercial-scale seaweed farm located between offshore wind turbines (shown above in a computer-generated image). The project known as North Sea Farm 1 will be located in a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands.
It has been designed to test and improve methods of seaweed farming while researching seaweed’s potential to sequester carbon – this being the process of capturing, removing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the earth’s atmosphere.
By locating the farm in previously empty space between turbines, the project is able to expand seaweed cultivation in the otherwise heavily used North Sea. If seaweed farming were to expand to occupy the entire space occupied by wind farms, expected to be approximately 1 million hectares by 2040, it could reduce millions of tonnes of CO2 annually.
The project is managed by a consortium of scientific researchers and partners from the seaweed industry, led by the non-profit organisation North Sea Farmers (NSF), and is expected to become operational by the end of this year. The consortium hopes that North Sea Farm 1 will evolve into a blueprint for offshore seaweed farming the world over.
Amazon is granting €1.5 million to create this first-of-its-kind seaweed farm and carry out a year’s scientific research into carbon reduction through seaweed farming.
The funding comes from its US$100 million global Right Now Climate Fund, through this fund, Amazon has committed €20 million to projects across Europe to enhance biodiversity and conserve, restore and improve nature in communities where Amazon operates.
The grant will provide the investment required to construct a 10-hectare seaweed farm, which is expected to produce at least 6,000kg of fresh seaweed in its first year.
“Seaweed could be a key tool in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, yet it’s currently farmed at a relatively small scale in Europe,” said Zak Watts, Director EU Sustainability at Amazon. “We’re delighted to fund this project to help us reach a greater understanding of its ability to help fight climate change.”
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