Between fifteen hundred and two thousand gallons of ethanol can be made from seaweed, whereas an acre of sugar cane can make just shy of a thousand gallons and an acre of corn can make just over four hundred gallons. Seaweed has the advantage of not having lignin, which is a chemical compound that makes up many of the secondary walls of some organisms. Because there’s no lignans, the seaweed can be broken down into sugar more easily.
Not only will the bio fuel industry need millions of tonnes of seaweed but close on its heels is the bio plastic industry, again stalling at the moment due to production costs. They will need similar amounts of seaweed to meet demand.
In an attempt to lower the use of single-use plastics in takeaway packaging, online delivery service Just Eat has announced a new UK six-week trial of seaweed-based sauce sachets for ketchup and garlic herb sauces. The Seaweed Sauce sachets, created in partnership with sustainable packaging development company, decompose in a matter of weeks.
In March, Just Eat announced a package of measures to reduce excess plastics included in UK takeaway deliveries. One of the commitments the business made was to work with key industry experts to invest in the research and development of innovative and practical alternatives for single-use plastics.
So where does that leave seaweeds grown for food and medicinal purposes?
Well, the answer is simple, plan ahead and get the seaweed farms established. Let’s start utilising sea space around our coast, for example the protected space between o shore wind farms are ideal for seaweed aquaculture and other aquaculture farms. It’s also time to look at deep sea seaweed farms, away from the coast and farmed in much deeper water where it won’t be affected by the winter storms.
Also floating seaweed farms, to grow different types of native seaweeds without the need to fix them to a permanent location and without the longwinded licensing processes. Floating farms are ideal for for farming of Wrack, particularly Bladder wrack and Red seaweeds such as Dulce and Irish moss. If you are interested in a floating seaweed farm please contact us.
Large 100 or 200 hectare floating sites are part of the future of seaweed farming.