Seaweeds are among the fastest growing crops on the planet. They only require sunlight, carbon dioxide (CO2), nutrients that are naturally occurring in the ocean, and a substrate or a basin to attach to or grow in. When this is utilised commercially and scaled-up with open ocean cultivation systems, large quantities of CO2 can be absorbed. This activity reduces ocean acidification, mitigates climate change through carbon uptake and provides other ecosystem services. To take advantage of this underutilised and regenerative biomass source, SeaMark will demonstrate new processes that enable more cost-efficient production of cultivated seaweed products. SeaMark will utilise novel technologies to meet a growing demand for sustainable algae-based products, demonstrating increased yield performances, fermentation, co-extraction, and processing methods of seaweed biomass into bio-based functional food and feed ingredients and additives for multiple nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, biomaterials, beverages, texturing, and medical devices.
SeaMark will upscale seaweed cultivation in Europe based on proven near-shore and exposed seaweed cultivation systems and land-based Integrated Multi Tropic Aquaculture (IMTA) systems. SeaMark will utilise recent ground- breaking selective breeding technologies within EU seaweed crop genetics to increase biomass yield. Main outcomes of the project are 12 innovative products which will be developed, tested, and launched to relevant market segments by the conclusion of this project. The entire value chain will be analysed for techno-economic feasibility and socio- economic impact. The ecosystem services will be identified and quantified, and regulatory hurdles will be addressed. This will feed into a policy document addressing environmental risks and benefits and the carrying capacity of seaweed cultivation in Europe, thereby contributing to the knowledge base and blue bio-based economy of coastal regions.