Can a wind farm harvest renewable energy and food, capture carbon and clean the ocean all at once – yes, it can.
Seaweed only needs saltwater and sunlight to grow, and it grows quickly. The ropes with the plants are laid out in the sea in October and harvested in April. In six months, the seaweed has grown to about two meters.
“The seaweed grows under the harshest time of the year, but Kattegat is rather mild compared to many other seas”, says Nils Mårtensson at Kobb.
OX2 has teamed up with Kobb to look at combining offshore wind power and growing seaweed.
He knows what he is talking about. He used to work with rigs and floated platforms for the oil and gas industry in the North Sea.
Seaweed has been labeled a “super food”. It is rich in minerals, fiber and antioxidants. It also contains Omega-3 and is anti-inflammatory. But the seaweed also has environmental effects. When it grows it captures CO2 and absorbs phosphor and nitrogen, helping the sea to recover from overfertilization.
Its not only people’s health that can improve. The anti-inflammatory quality of the seaweed makes it suitable for fodder, thereby reducing the Methane from cows or other livestock. Methane is about 60 times as potent greenhouse gas as CO2.
“It is good to know we are doing good for people and the sea. The seabed here is more or less dead as a result the eutrophication. And, of course, I enjoy seaweed. It is really tasty!”, says Nils Mårtensson.
The wind farm Galatea-Galene would contribute about 6-7 TWh of emissions-free electricity to the part of Sweden that needs it the most. OX2 has also set the goal that all their wind and solar farms should be nature positive.
“This is a step towards that goal. But it is also a way to create job opportunities and create social benefits of the wind farm”, says Emelie Zakrisson, Head of Offshore development Sweden, OX2.
The seaweed grown at Galatea-Galene could yield harvests of up to 40,000 tonnes per year.
The goal is to harvest about 30 to 40,000 tonnes of seaweed every year. Today the harvested seaweed in the whole of Europe is a few thousand tonnes.
“The market is there. We really look forward to starting”, says Nils Mårtensson.