What initially commenced as a regular practice to suffice domestic needs of food and feed, has gradually become a global interest, as natural resource alternative for future. Seaweed is now being eyed as an important resource in producing different commodities including food, fuel, pharmaceuticals, feed and cosmetics, to suffice the growing demand. Commercial seaweed farming is getting increasingly adopted across the globe and 33 genera of seaweed are currently under cultivation. Besides encouraging the prospects of being an alternative for natural resources, major players are also increasing their stakes in seaweed industry to introduce it as a revolutionary ingredient of food supply chain that holds the potential to lead the food industry towards a sustainable future.

Prospect of Deriving Biofuel from Seaweed Attracts Investments

Biofuel is the another attractive area of interest for market players. Different benefits of seaweed including fast production, efficient space utilization, non-application of fertilizers and non-dependency on fresh water, makes it a better source of bio fuels than current market alternatives like soya. Leading stakeholders are making huge investments to produce biofuel from seaweed. They are investing in research and development activities, aimed towards producing ethanol from seaweed that can be mixed with other natural gas components, to be used in households. All the above cited applications collectively make the commercial seaweed farming a highly lucrative yet unexplored area.

Technological Advancements Enhance Profitability

Despite years of seaweed cultivation, it remains a highly labor-intensive industry. Manufacturers are introducing technological developments in commercial seaweed farming to address challenges associated with manual preparation, deployment and harvesting of seaweed plantations. A mechanical seaweed harvester and seaweed printing table with Tie-line saw inserter have been introduced in commercial seaweed farming to reduce manpower requirement. Manufacturers are leveraging such technical instruments to enhance farm profitability along with reducing the risks generated for farmers during farming.

3D Ocean Farming Opening New Doors for Small-scale Manufacturers

Commercial seaweed farming on a large scale requires technical expertise, huge infrastructure and capital, which at times is a cause of concern for small-scale manufacturers. These manufacturers are developing a different approach of seaweed farming to gain maximum profit. They are consistently striving to explore cost-effective cultivation areas for large-scale seaweed farming as it demands high levels of accessibility and operability.

A non-profit organization named GreenWave, has made major developments in this area with a relatively new concept, 3D ocean farming. The company is cultivating seaweed along with shellfish, as zero input crops on long vertical floating ropes, which require less area for commercial seaweed farming. Efficient utilization of space in turn reduces investments and efforts, making the overall practice very cost-effective. Manufacturers are further focusing towards curbing sea water pollution with 3D ocean farming by using filter-feeders.

The company is expanding its market reach by initiating internship programs, aimed at improving different hatchery procedures employed in commercial seaweed farming. This regenerative ocean farming is assisting manufacturers in sufficing growing market demand along with maintaining a sustainable supply source for kelp, which is a seaweed type. With no investments on fertilizers, fresh water inputs and feed, 3D ocean farming has turned out to be a very profitable business for market players.

Multi-use Sea Farms Facilitate Energy-efficient Farming

Another non-profit organization, NOORDZEE BOERDERIJ, has given a new dimension of climate change to commercial seaweed farming. This company has integrated multiple concepts including wind farms, shellfish cultivation and floating solar panels, to create a versatile and sustainable method for commercial seaweed farming. Manufacturers are calling this method of seaweed farming as multi-use sea farms where a smart combination is achieved for food and energy production. Wind farms are being employed by manufacturers as a probable location for commercial seaweed farming for its benefits such as absence of ship movements and provision of a base for developing seaweed plantations.

Seaweed Gains Impetus as Sustainable Protein Source

Stakeholders have come up with the concept of seagriculture, another word for commercial seaweed farming. This method also revolves around developing seaweed farms in offshore wind farms. Manufacturers in food industry are showing keen interest in this approach to utilize seaweeds as sustainable protein sources. The competitive landscape is growing more intense with market players competing to utilize the benefits of naturally occurring sun light and salt, used to grow seaweed.

Plastic Ban Encourages Innovation in Seaweed

Manufacturers in food and packaging industries are placing stakes in commercial seaweed farming to further intensify the market competition. Researches have proved that seaweed, when used as cow feed, significantly reduces methane emission from cows. This fact generates lucrative opportunities for manufacturers in animal feed market. Seaweed is also being employed in packaging industry as compostable packaging material. It is gaining prominence over the growing adherence towards plastic usage. Moreover, seaweeds forms a viable source for fresh water owing to its natural desalination process, which makes them an innovative way of irrigation for drought-affected areas.

Driven by the abundant opportunities, leading market players are developing projects in ocean for multi-use. They are implementing various strategies such as restricted activities, enhanced windfarm infrastructure and enriched ion content, to boost seaweed growth and utilize it as sustainable protein alternative. Stakeholders are taking these initiatives further by developing seaweed breeding programs, aimed to produce highly productive kelp strains. Cross breeding of kelp spores is going to define the future of commercial seaweed farming.

Concept of Green Fuel Alternative Boosts Seaweed Farming

Global leaders are encouraging commercial seaweed farming as a viable method to fight global warming. Kelp helps in this initiative by absorbing carbon dioxide in ocean and elevating oxygen supply of the surrounding areas to maintain optimum pH level. The possibilities of converting kelp into fuel source, is eyed as a viable approach of decreasing the level of greenhouse gases along with reducing dependency on fossil fuels. Though there are other greener alternatives for fuel like sugar and corn, seaweeds form a better alternative owing to the price issues with existing alternatives.

Sustainability has lately emerged as the major factor driving developments across seaweeds. Commercial seaweed farming, in a way is preparing the world for energy crisis in the future.