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Seaweed cultivation, harvesting and storage processes
MacroFuels developed the novel year-round cultivation of macroalgae utilising different test sites in Scotland and Denmark featuring different cultivation conditions (e.g. exposed vs. sheltered, high and low nutrients in the waters).
In fact, MacroFuels established the first ever exposed cultivation site in Denmark.
Across the different test sites, local varieties of the targeted summer crops (i.e. Ulva, Palmaria, Fucus) complemented the better established winter crops (Saccharina and Alaria).
For the exposed Danish cultivation site preliminary results indicate improved biomass yields and quality compared to sheltered sites, which is very promising for further upscaling of Europen seaweed cultivation towards large scales.
MacroFuels proved the concept of direct seeding in combination with advanced cultivation substrates and novel binders that are optimised for local conditions. This boosts the efficiency and reduces the costs of operations by being able to cultivate at sea.
Harvesting and storage
We tested a prototype of an automated harvester and proved the technical feasibility of automated harvesting concepts.
Novel seaweed storage bags which have been developed by SIOEN as part of MacroFuels allow storing the biomass and ensile it at the same time. Storage at sea is being tested, which could help to overcome the highly costly drying and storing of seaweed on land, which could represent barriers for future industry-scale operations.
For images and further details of the automated harvester please visit the ATSeaNova website.