Amazon.com has awarded 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million) to a Dutch project testing the feasibility of commercially producing seaweed in between turbines of offshore wind farms, the company and organisers said.
The project, led by the non-profit North Sea Farmers, will also conduct research on the potential of employing seaweed for carbon capture.
Hundreds of thousands of hectares of the Dutch North Sea have been designated for wind parks as part of the government's plan to build 21 GW of offshore wind power by 2030, and will be closed for shipping. The areas in between the turbines will be mostly unused.
The project is able to expand seaweed production in the otherwise extensively utilised North Sea by putting the farm in previously free space between turbines. If seaweed farming were to take over the whole space covered by wind farms, which is anticipated to be around 1 million hectares by 2040, it might save millions of tonnes of CO2 per year.
The Amazon funding will be used to construct North Sea Farm 1, a 10-hectare seaweed farm, which according to organizers, will be completed by the end of 2023 and will generate approximately 6,000 kgs of fresh seaweed annually.
The non-profit thinks that these findings will contribute to the industry's growth. North Sea Farm 1 and similar projects will also provide opportunities for job creation through seaweed growing and production.
"Seaweed could be a key tool in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, yet it’s currently farmed at a relatively small scale in Europe,” said Zak Watts, Director EU Sustainability at Amazon. “We're delighted to fund this project to help us reach a greater understanding of its ability to help fight climate change.”