Coordinator of the EU Mission CSA "Restore our Oceans and Waters" in the Baltic and North Sea Region - Visit Blue Mission BANOS

ALGAE CULTIVATION, PROCESSING & PRODUCTS

 Scaling up climate friendly algae cultivation and fostering innovation for a blue bio economy

Unlocking the potential of algae

Algae is among the fastest growing crops on the planet. Further, it requires only two things to grow: sunlight and carbon dioxide (CO2). Algae not only reduces ocean acidification, but also mitigates climate change through carbon uptake. 

By promoting sustainable algae cultivation, processing, and product development in the Baltic and North Sea, we envision algae as a transformative tool to mitigate eutrophication, bolster aquatic ecosystems, and provide an eco-friendly source of nourishment for both human and animal consumption. Beyond nutrition, the versatility of algae as a material allows it to be used for fertilisers, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, and an array of other products. 

Discover our algae projects

We’re supporting businesses to deliver market-ready products and developing models for the development of large-scale algae farms

Bolstering the market for algae

Realizing the environmental and economic potentials of this underutilised product,  the demand and interest for algae-based applications is growing. However the full potential of algae cultivation, processing, and product development in the EU is currently hindered by segmented legislation and an underdeveloped market. The expansion of the EU algae market is limited by low production volumes and high costs, which in turn reduces interest from investors seeking to capitalise on this burgeoning industry.  

 Should these challenges be addressed, it is realistic to envision a future where annual harvests of algae in the Baltic are in the tens of thousands of tons, delivering significant economic and environmental benefits. For example, algae play an important role in bioremediation by taking up nutrients and pollution from the water. Together, through our projects and members we are seizing the opportunity to tackle these challenges and to ensure that the full potential of algae can be realised.   

Algae resources hub

Our specialists have put together a collection of publications, additional relevant projects, tools, and resources on the topic of algae cultivation

Blue Mission BANOS Roadmap 2030
Roadmap 2030
Eight goals to transform the blue bioeconomy in the region
Screenshot 2023-12-06 at 16.00
Mapping of Projects Contributing to Mission Ocean in the Baltic and North Sea
Focusing on the Western Baltic for the 1st Mission Arena
SUBMARINER Brochure 2024
SUBMARINER Brochure 2023
This brochure presents the SUBMARINER Network
ALGANEX
ALGANEX
The European algae B2B platform. Certified quality, expertise and simplicity.
EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism
EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism
The EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism supports the EU Member States, the EU...
REALM
REALM
The REALM project brings greenhouse farmers and microalgae producers together
Algae Testing Packages
Algae Testing Packages
Cultured Supply offers algae testing packages.

Latest algae news

Still have questions? We have answers

As a result of eutrophication, the amount of macroalgae throughout the Baltic Sea has increased. Precise figures are missing due to lack of monitoring, but especially in South Sweden and Denmark substantial amounts of beach wrack assemblages in the range of 70,000–85,000 tons of dry weight per year can be found. Whereas it is difficult to use them readily as fertilizers on agricultural land due to the risk of high-level metal content, there are promising results of pilot studies carried out in using macroalgae as a part of locally available biomass resource mix for biogas plants).

Also, intensive aquaculture of Baltic macroalgae can provide for an important food and feed source, but also a valuable resource for ingredients, materials and energy. Brown and red algae species can grow inside the proper providing ecosystem services, by reducing the nutrient load and combatting climate change by fixing CO2 in biomass.

Macroalgae may be used for human consumption and is a healthy nutritional source: edible macroalgae have high water content, are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. Some species are high in digestible proteins (20–25 % protein of wet weight) and the fibre content is usually higher than in terrestrial plants. Brown and red algae species are mainly used. The brown macroalga Laminaria japonica (know as kombu) is particularly popular. Moreover, the brown alga Undaria sp. (known as wakame) and the red alga Phorphyra sp. (known as nori) are economically important macroalgae species for human consumption. The interest in Asian food in Europe and the Baltic Sea Region has increased during the last decade but the use of macroalgae as food is still a small business. Source

Macroalgae are also often used as an additives to animal feed due to their high content of minerals, trace elements and vitamins. Brown macroalgae are most frequently used for this purpose. Some species of red macroalgae have been reported having very promising beneficial properties connected with reducing the methane production of livestock. Source

Additionally, macroalgae are used as fertilisers worldwide, as they not only contain nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium but also trace elements, vitamins and hormones and other compounds that act as soil amendments and promote plant growth. Large brown algae are most commonly used but others can be used as well. In the Baltic Sea there is a risk of high metal content in macroalgae due to a combination of high metal concentrations and low salinity in the waters. Macroalgae from the southern part of Sweden and Denmark generally have high contents of cadmium and thus macroalgae fertilisers cannot be used on land. There is no common EU -directive on cadmium content in biofertiliser and the regulations are different between the countries in the Baltic Sea Region. In Sweden, there is legislation about how much heavy metals that are allowed to be put on arable land. There are also certification systems with recommended limiting values for cadmium content in the biofertiliser. These are two factors preventing biofertilisers with high cadmium content to be attractive on the Swedish market. A cost-effective technique for cadmium purification is still not available although research is in progress. In other parts of the Baltic Sea where cadmium content is lower, such as in Poland, macroalgae digestate can be used directly without further treatment.
 

However, the increased sedimentation of biodeposits (especially faeces) underneath a mussel farm can locally have a negative impact on the benthos if the mussel farm is placed in a coastal area with slow water currents and bad oxygen conditions. The organic enrichment of the underlying seafloor may lead to hypoxic conditions, releasing nutrients from the impacted sediments into the water. Studies have so far shown that any adverse effects have been restricted to the immediate vicinity of the mussel farms. If a location with well-oxygenated sediments is chosen, negative effects of mussel farming can probably be avoided or reduced.

Want to know more?

Reach out to our expert

Frederick Bruce, Project Manager

fb@submariner-network.eu

Let's explore, harness, and amplify the benefits of algae