Seaweed: The food and fuel of the future?
By Adrienne MurrayTechnology of Business reporter, Faroe Islands
- 27 August 2020
Sunshine has given way to wind and rain, as the motorboat chugs through a fjord in the Faroe Islands.
“Its a bit windy here,” says Olavur Gregarsen. “We’ll see how far we can get to the harvesting boat.”
We soon reach a sheltered spot where steep mountains are looking down on hundreds of buoys bobbing in the sea.
“They are holding up a horizontal line,” explains Mr Gregarsen, the managing director of Ocean Rainforest, a seaweed producer. “At every metre another line hangs down, and that’s where the seaweed grows.”
Anchored to the sea floor, the cultivation rig consists of 50,000m (164,000ft) of underwater lattice-like ropes, designed to withstand rough sea conditions.
“The main structure is 10m down. That way we avoid the largest breaking waves,” he says.
Despite the Danish territory’s remote North Atlantic location, Mr Gregarsen says the deep, nutrient-rich, waters are well suited for growing seaweed, with a stable temperature of between 6C and 11C.
His firm is among a wave of seaweed farms that have sprung up in Europe and North America, spurred by a growing demand from the food industry and others.
“You have a biomass that can be used for food and feed, and replacing