After a successful edition of the Lichtkogel about seaweed, an online meeting was held March 11: Seaweed Opportunities Making it happen.
Below a reflection on this day, as a picture (Lichtkogel, Rijkswaterstaat)
and in words (Theo Verleun, chairman of the day):
Na een succesvolle editie
van de Lichtkogel over zeewier
vond op 11 maart een
online bijeenkomst plaats over:
Making it happen.
Onderstaand een reflectie op die dag,
in beeld (Lichtkogel, Rijkswaterstaat)
en woord (Theo Verleun, dagvoorzitter) :
The Lichtkogel Experience – Seaweed opportunities: Making it happen –
gave a balanced view of the state of affairs regarding the whole seaweed value chain and its potential. Renowned speakers of the United Nations, European Commission DG Mare and World Wildlife Fund shared the global and international perspective and basic needs for seaweed development. The sustainability balance of the earth needs to be restored and asks, a.o., for better use of seaweed as means of mitigation. With the increase of the world population, a structural Greenhouse gas reduction and sustainable production of Food, Feed and Energy is crucial. According the UN and WWF, around 50 million km2 of aquatic space is available worldwide for seaweed production.
From a science perspective, presented by NIOZ, there are several topics which require attention in scaling up seaweed farming. Amongst others a realistic growth path within the North Sea is needed and the nutrient balance in the farming areas requires attention. Especially the southern part of the North Sea seem to be well positioned for the farming of seaweed.
The Dutch authorities presented an inspiring video with beautiful animations (Smart Use of the NorthSea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCJ2JEn-8DU) in which they share their vision on the future of multi-use in offshore wind parks in the North Sea with attention to nature development. From 2021 this multi-use is obligatory in new wind parks in The Netherlands.
Several Dutch seaweed entrepreneurs contributed to the event. Amongst others with opportunities for seaweed applications in clothing and shoes which already today leads to substantial demands for upscaling production. If we consider the supply to food or animal feed markets, we can imagine the amounts of seaweeds in demand. This leads to the required innovation of cascaded seaweed processing to supply multiple customer needs with the required amount of seaweed.
In the last part of the program there was a clear message from large companies (DSM, ENECO and Mitsubishi) to scale up production to create a solid position for seaweed derived products in the Protein- and Energy-transition. Here seaweed can play a great role in the drive to realise the set sustainability development goals for the world (SDG’s). The first step in Netherlands/North Sea will be the creation of a clear roadmap (routekaart) to get the seaweed sector to 2050 (and beyond). This roadmap needs to connect investors in farming, processing and utilisation of seaweed and it constituents. The roadmap should cover the cost reduction of producing seaweed, the maximum value extraction from seaweed as well as the required support systems from academia and authorities to mitigate the investors risks on this road ahead. There is good hope and signals confirm that consortia will emerge out of this event to create the roadmap.
All parties including UN, EC and WWF agreed that the Netherlands specifically is able to make the difference in seaweed development. Netherlands has a strong position in innovation for Maritime activities, Agriculture and animal feed, Water management and vegetable proteins. In addition, the limited land space of Netherland and the big ambitions for wind energy offshore make it very likely that the Netherlands can “make it happen”.