Macroalgae pilot facilities
Three of the EnAlgae pilot facilities are dedicated to looking at how macroalgae (seaweeds) might be better grown, harvested and converted into bioenergy. This page tells you about the reseach at each site.
National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland) has developed a large-scale hatchery which is used to grow kelps, including Saccharina latissima (‘Sugar kelp’) and Alaria esculenta (‘Atlantic wakame’). The aim of this facility is to standardise and increase the production of a hectare site at sea. By closely monitoring the environmental conditions of the site, NUI Galway hopes to create a much greater insight into how macroalgal cultivation interacts with the surrounding habitat.
Queen’s University Belfast (United Kingdom) is evaluating offshore cultivation methods that will allow sustainable kelp biomass production. Its cultivation sites are in and around Strangford Lough, a protected conservation area, so a particular focus of its work is the development of cultivation processes that can be used in areas of high human activity. QUB is collecting biological, ecological, and socio-economic data to assess the suitability of various seaweed strains for large-scale cultivation. You can watch a short film about their research here.
Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues (France) is helping to develop and exchange best practice methods for the exploitation of seaweeds. CEVA has set up three sea sites in France for the large-scale cultivation of kelp species. Performance data and abiotic factors is collected in a standardised manner and shared across the partnership. CEVA also runs demonstration events that anyone can attend.