Amazon Invests in Windfarm based Seaweed Aquaculture
Amazon is investing $1.6 million in a unique seaweed farm as part of its $100 million Right Now Climate Fund. The purpose of the project and scientific analysis is to establish how seaweed farming can reduce carbon emissions.
The farm Amazon is investing in is the first-ever commercial-scale seaweed farm situated between existing offshore wind turbines. The experimental project, known as North Sea Farm 1, is being established off the Dutch coast and aims to advance seaweed farming practices and study its ability to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The project can expand seaweed cultivation in the otherwise heavily used North Sea by locating the farm in previously empty space between turbines. Seaweed farming could reduce millions of tonnes of CO2 each year if it were to occupy the entire space occupied by wind farms by 2040, estimated to be approximately 1 million hectares.
Seaweed has been identified as a potential method of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and is already farmed on a limited scale in Europe. Non-profit North Sea Farmers (NSF) is heading up a project monitored by researchers and industry specialists. This venture will provide an example of worldwide offshore seaweed farming.
The investment will provide the funds needed to build a 10-hectare seaweed farm that will produce at least 6,000kg of fresh seaweed in its first year. The Dutch government wants to build 21 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 and has set aside hundreds of thousands of hectares (acres) of the Dutch North Sea for wind parks. There are also plans to operate floating solar panels between the turbines in other projects.
This particular round of funding will support North Sea Farmers by assisting them in evaluating their production and allowing researchers to examine the potential for seaweed farms to reduce atmospheric carbon. The organization aims to use these discoveries to expedite industry growth. Furthermore, North Sea Farm 1 and others like it will generate work opportunities by cultivating and fabricating seaweed-based items.
With a consortium of organizations involved in the entire seaweed production supply chain, North Sea Farmers (NSF) will lead the project. The non-profit has championed the seaweed sector in Europe since 2014. Researchers at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Deltares and Silvestrum Climate Associates are among the participants, as are seaweed extract manufacturers Algaia and marine contractors Van Oord.
Replicas of North Sea Farm 1 across the North Sea, repurposing the space between wind farms, could create up to 85,000 full-time jobs in the European seaweed industry, according to Eef Brouwers, NSF Manager of Farming and Technology. In addition to the farming process, these jobs would be in producing and selling seaweed products.”
Amazon has invested in European communities through the Right Now Climate Fund, supporting nature and wildlife restoration programmes in France, Italy and Germany, and a rewilding and forestry project in the UK. Amazon is also providing funds for the conservation and restoration of forests in the Appalachian Mountains of the US, an Agroforestry Accelerator programme in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, and is a key member of the LEAF Coalition, a global public-private organization aiming to raise $1 billion to protect tropical rainforests around the world.