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Oceans 2050 adds color to seaweed carbon debate
Plus: €730m for ocean impact funds, new conservation efforts, industry leaders talk innovation
The seaweed carbon debate is often an emotional one; in the intensity of electronic argument, the nuances and unknowns sometimes get lost. Oceans 2050’s research on carbon sequestration by seaweed farms has now brought more data to the debate, which undoubtedly will continue to be hotly contested once the papers are published.
Main takeaways from the presentation:
Algal forests are twice the size previously estimated
The Gallagher paper is wrong - kelp forests are a carbon sink
C sequestration averaged 1.4 tons/ha/year, but with large variations based on farm site
There has been more seaweed carbon science out recently, on carbon credit verification and the uber-fiery topic of seaweed sinking. I summarized it all here.
€730m raised for blue impact
4 European ocean impact funds raised 230 million euros over the past few months, targeting 340 million euros when they close later in the year. On top of that, the new InvestEU Blue Economy fund announced €500 million for financial intermediaries to unlock €1,5 billion of risk-financing for blue economy SMEs. Can seaweed startups profit from this surge in blue finance?
In other investing news, Umaro raised $3m for seaweed bacon, while The Seaweed Company got a financial injection from Belgian retailer Colruyt, increasing its minority stake in the company.
In this sense, Colruyt (€9.9B turnover, 32 000 employees) is following the playbook of Orkla, the Nordic FMCG conglomerate that has taken a stake in Arctic Seaweed. They both see local seaweed as an opportunity to green their food and packaging supply chains.
Looking for money?
The Safe Seaweed Coalition has announced another call for proposals on grant projects up to €50 000 to improve safety in the seaweed industry.
I also started a fundraising database to more easily connect accredited investors with startups raising money. Just 4 startups registered so far, but I know there is more out there, so if you are a startup looking for money, do register your round.
Industry leaders talk innovation needs
As one of the leaders in seaweed cultivation in Europe, it's always interesting to read what Ocean Rainforest is up to. The company is currently developing a new harvesting device that will be able to harvest vertical lines more efficiently on offshore sites, and doing selective breeding research to increase yield by at least 50%. In terms of applications, they are involved in research projects on pig and cattle feed.
On the other side of the pond, Civil Eats wrote about the business model of Atlantic Sea Farms and Blue Evolution.
Pontas Tambunan, deputy chair of the Indonesian Seaweed Industry Association (Astruli), sees a big role for data processing to reduce the role of costly intermediaries, also pointing out the need for more innovation in food safety, seaweed quality and higher-value end products.
Singapore’s Luminis is taking on that challenge, providing microbiome and metagenomic analytics to de-risk the Indonesian seaweed sector with early disease detection and better water body planning. In cooperation with Sea Green.
New conservation efforts in Pacific, Atlantic
Notable conservation science papers