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Masters Thesis Presentation

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on 6 May 2014

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Transcript of Masters Thesis Presentation

Case Study: BioMara
No site has been officially selected for SEAFARM yet. Kostefjorden was selected for:

A real tried and tested method
Incidental IMTAs have already stood the test of time

Documented in China around 2200 BC, You Hou Bin
Egyptian hieroglyphics of co-cultivating Tilapia, carp, flowers and freshwater seaweeds

Has been researched for a long time under many different names: ecological aquaculture engineering, Integrated waste-recycling marine polyculture systems, etc...

IMTA finally coined in 2004 by a DFA spokesperson at a meeting in Canada
Case Study:


Author Jean-Baptiste Thomas
Supervisor Fredrick Gröndahl

Development pathways for an economically viable SEAFARM cultivation at the Kostefjorden, Sweden
Masters Thesis Presentation at the Department of Industrial Ecology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Introduction to Research
Terrestrial feedstocks:
Adds pressure on arable land; contributes to soil depletion, eutrophication, land-grabbing; carbon intensive harvesting
New perspective:
The Sea as a vast and untapped medium for cultivating sustainable resources
Aim, Objectives & Methodology
Literature Review
Swedish response to the EC’s call for a bioeconomy
Five partner institutions across Sweden
Project still in its infancy, pending funding from Formas
Location still to be decided, but near SLCMS

Biotechnology and refining
Sustainability Assessment
Harvest pretreatment & storage
Seaweed biogas feedstock
Five focus areas of research
How can this cultivation be designed to achieve the SEAFARM research objectives as well as economic viability within five years?
The Question Is...
To identify pathways for the development of
an economically viable cultivation
in the Kostefjorden
to inform SEAFARM strategising and decision-making.

Select a
cultivation site
near SLCMS & establish background information

Study visit of Sven Lovén Centre

Scenario context
Two alternative scenarios
Cross-analyse performances with context
In support of literature, the case study and the scenario development
The setting for the scenarios
Envisioned outcome of development process
Scenario development
Macroalgae focus; not microalgae
Limited to Kostefjorden site
Biogas production only; not bioethanol nor biodiesel
Ecosystem service values were not considered
Revenues from a 'nutrient credit' scheme were excluded
Huge range of products simplified to four categories

Amongst the earliest multicellular organisms to form of complex structures, become abundant and display great diversity
IMTA: the next step for aquaculture
Key findings
Why the interest?
Biological mapping of algae species is incomplete
Amongst the fastest growing species in the world
So what kind of products come from seaweeds?

How much are they worth?

What does the global market look like?
Sea Vegetables
Biogas feedstock
Adds pressure on arable land; contributes to soil depletion, eutrophication, land-grabbing; carbon intensive harvesting
The Sea as a vast and untapped medium for cultivating sustainable resources
Terrestrial feedstocks:
New perspective:
Fast growing, strips nutrient, provides habitat and ecosystem services, requires no fresh water or arable land
Medium to High value
Medium Value
Saturated market
Growing European market
Low to v. High Value
Rapidly growing market for innovative products
Low Value
Growing potential
1 billion people rely on fish as primary source of protein (FAO 2004)
Growing demand for protein with increasing population
Fish stocks are at their limit
There are two distinct types of aquaculture:
The problem is they've been kept separate!
Aquaculture overtook fish catches as majority source of fish in 2004
Fastest growing food production sector, at 6.9% per year (FAO 2009)
Face the same challenge as our hunter gatherer ancestors, to settle and cultivate to increase production
Fish Aquaculture
The greatest problem is reflected also in agriculture: cultivating single species causes an imbalance in the host ecosystem
Concentration of effluents, drugs, pesticides, etc
High concentration of individuals can also result in disease
The consumer's favorite fish also happen to be the top predators in the ocean: salmon, trout, cod, haddock, etc
These eat other fish, usually caught by fishermen
Many other impacts...
Seaweed Aquaculture
So why do we do it?

Because its big business.

In 2010 the FAO estimated the value of the global aquaculture industry in the region of USD 119.4 billion, producing an estimated 59.9 million metric tons of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals.

That's almost 20 times the total value of the

the previous year.
As we've already seen seaweed soak up nutrients, are capable of removing heavy nutrients, and hold important ecological roles such as habitat provision, while also undertaking essential ecosystem services
Centuries, if not millenia old practice in Asia
Recently there has been a rush beyond Asian countries, such as Norway, Canada, Chile, the UK, Ireland, Mexico, France and Russia.
Why the sudden change?
Newly identified potential as a feedstock for biofuels and in biorefineries.
Research is being backed by governments and private business
Not as profitable as

finfish aquaculture
Our technical ability to mass cultivate seaweed has increased dramatically since the 1950s
Major pioneers are China, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea
Labour intensive, but labour is cheap there
Mechanisation is being developed elsewhere
New products are emerging, replacing fossil-fuel products: plastics, biofuels, etc
But there is a well established global market at USD 5.5-6 billion which is growing very rapidly (FAO 2009)
Few reported environmental impacts: limited to shading effects on benthic communities and some local disturbances during the installation of the cultivation infrastructures.

In fact, they are predominantly seen as environmentally positive, acting as water filters and pollution strippers.

Seaweed and microalgae have recently been accredited with the potential to act as geoengineering agents: sucking out CO2 from the atmosphere then decaying and sinking to the bottom of the oceans where the carbon becomes trapped.
IMTA > Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture

What does it mean?

It arches back to basics of ecology, that cultivations should include calculated amounts of multiple trophic levels, to result in a production system in equilibrium with its surroundings
Experts tend to refer to three kinds of IMTA
Type 1 - Add on approach

Type 2 - Custom designed

Type 3 - Incidental

IMTA in Theory
Particulate organic matter feeds shellfish and invertebrates
Dissolved nutrients fertilise seaweeds
Increased revenues
Multiple products, diverse economy
Costs of upgrade to IMTA are small
IMTA in Practice: quantifying synergies
Troell et al. (1997) - Co-cultivation of salmon and Gracilaria chilensis and mussels, increases growth rates of the latter two by 20 and 40%.
Stephen Cross reports increased growth rates beyond 50% during interview

EU Directive 2009/28/EC: all members to achieve at least 10% transport fuels from sustainable sources by 2020
Ancient Origins of IMTA
Kelps selected for high energy content in the Autumn. Key environmental growth variables identified.
Bioethanol and biodiesel were found to be at least 5-10 years away from commercial viability
Environmental impacts of beach cast harvesting were identified as significant
Last major hurdles to economic viability were identified:
Key setback
Lack of political framework for seaweed cultivation marine licenses in Scotland.
Delays in the development of a pilot cultivation. Kerrera site has only recently become operational (in January).
Complex funding situation from multiple public and private organisations.

'Passing the baton' to SEAFARM
Interview with Michele Stanley revealed the publication of a road map for the development of a seaweed industry in the UK, including:
Major research hurdles
The recent emergence of biotechnology as a central component to an economically viable industry
Marine license application should be undertaken early
SEAFARM focus areas (FA1-5) were found to correspond to research agenda outlined in the report

Investigate feasibility of using seaweed to achieve this ambitious goal
Bring stakeholders in the region together and educate them
Identify suitable species for the production of biogas, bioethanol & biodiesel
Monitor environmental impacts of cultivation & beach-cast harvesting

UK-Irish, €6 million four year research project coordinated by SAMS in Scotland
Step 1 - Establish scenario context
Step 3 - Cross-Analyse performances
Step 2 - Describe alternative outcomes
Geographical location
SEAFARM focus areas
Products & revenues
Socio- & techno-economic context
Scenario One - A Biofuel Optimised Aquaculture
Kostefjorden Site
There are 6 most important environmental growth variables for kelp, as identified by BioMara:

Temperature (degrees C)
Salinity (PSU)
Nitrite content (mg/L)
Nitrate conent (mg/L)
Ammonium content (mg/L)
Phosphorus content (mg/L)
Data has been put into 4 charts to illustrate gradients according to water depth, as well as seasonal variation from Jan 2011 to Jan 2012

SMHI water sample data
CHART 1 - Seasonal Fluctuations of Surface Water Temperature Gradients (°C) at the Kostefjorden in 2012 [Depths (D) of 0, 5, 10 and 20m]
These tables were sent to Stephen Cross, Lars Brunner and Greg Reid prior to interviews. They were able to comment about the suitability of the water conditions, and potential impacts the conditions may have on an eventual cultivation.
CHART 2 - Seasonal Fluctuations of Surface Water Salinity Gradients (PSU) at the Kostefjorden in 2012 [Depths (D) of 0, 5, 10 and 20m]
CHART 3 – Seasonal Fluctuations of Nitrate (mgL-1 ) and Ammonium (mgL-1 ) Gradients at the Kostefjorden in 2012 [Depths (D) of 0, 5 and 10m]
CHART 4 - Seasonal Fluctuations of Nitrite (mgL-1) and Phosphate (mgL-1) Gradients at the Kostefjorden in 2012 [Depths (D) of 0, 5 and 10m]
SEAFARM focus areas
Value pyramid for algae-based products.
(Adapted from: Bruton et al., 2009; Smith & Higson, 2013)
FA1 - Sustainable seaweed cultivation on the Swedish west coast.
FA5 - Develop a suite of sustainability assessment tools for the whole.
FA4 - Optimise the potential of biorefinery residues to produce biofertiliser and biogas.
FA3 - Map out biotechnology potential of local seaweeds, then design and demonstrate the viability of a large-scale biorefinery capable of recovering valuable phyco-products.
FA2 - Seaweed biomass preprocessing & preservation strategies.
Products & revenues
Food & sea vegetables:
Medium to high value
Growing European market
Biofuel feedstocks
Low value
Growing potential
Low to v. high value
Rapidly growing innovative products market
Medium value
Saturated and competitive market
Socio- & techno-economic context

Risk of "not in my back yard" public opposition can be minimised by smaller scale
Risk of market value fluctuations of products could jeopardise economic viability
West coast is an important summer holiday destination
Site needs to be discrete and hidden from view, but clearly marked to avoid accidents
Expect a long licensing application process
Local awareness programs and opinion surveys should be conducted
Infrastructure needs to be removal (non-permanent)

Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences
Marine research infrastructure of University of Gothenburg
Fully equipped to cater for this kind of research collaboration:
Permanent team of marine scientists
Specialised chemistry, wet and dry labs - outdoor labs - genetic engineering facilities - boats - etc...
Close proximity to Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences
Availability of water quality sample data from SMHI
Sheltered from stormy seas
Not in pathway of commercial shipping
Scenario Two - A Small Scale, Diversified IMTA
Simplified and inspired from backcasting methodology
BioMara inspired cultivation
Well established long-line technology
Labour intensive
Mono-Trophic kelp cultivation
Biogas is primary source of revenue
Small cultivation of fish, shell fish, invertebrates & seaweeds (not limited to kelps)
Mix of cultivation infrastructures
Specialised labour
Multiple revenues
Additional finfish, shellfish and invertebrates
Medium - high value
Established and ready market with local demand
Visit site & meet researchers
Cross-trophic species fertilisation
Molloy et al. (2011) - Report that common salmon pests are consumed by blue mussels. Walls of mussels could be used to protect salmon cultures from pests and reduce disease likelihood. Further research in progress.
Ridler et al. (2007) - A 10 year economic feasibility analysis comparing a finfish aquaculture to its upgraded IMTA counterpart, showed increased revenues across multiple scenarios as side-products (lobster, mussels, seaweed, etc) provide an economic buffer in difficult times.
Nobre et al. (2010) - Similar economic study comparing an abalone monoculture and an IMTA upgrade. Results showed that the increased IMTA revenues paid for the upgrade in the first year, environmental externalities were reduced by an estimated USD 0.9-2.2 million.
Huo et al. (2012) - Confirmed the open-sea bioremediation capabilities of Gracilaria verrucosa and proposed a procedure to measure and balance out bioremediation with effluent output to create a balanced open-sea IMTA.
Improved resilience to disease and pests
Enhanced economic and environmental performance
Bioremediation capacity in open-sea
Enhanced economic resilience
Blue Biotechnology
Biogas Production
Three themes come together during this thesis

"With a yearly growth rate of 12% patents associated to genes of marine organisms amounted to 4900 by 2010, indicating the high potential for an economic valorisation of marine products."
High costs due to labour, pretreatment and preservation - further research needed in mechanisation
Break even cost of electricity estimated at €120 per MWh, with an investment of €3500 per KW of electricity generation capacity and €50 per ton of seaweed feedstock: significantly more costly than wave, wind or tidal power.
Additional revenues from fish, shellfish and invertebrates
Greater product diversity, enhanced resilience
FA1 considered optimal due to vanguard IMTA research
FA3 enhanced (not limited to kelp or seaweed only)
Improved harvests due to cross species fertilisation
Smaller scale - easier to gain marine licensing and public support
Overall scenario TWO was found to be a well-rounded and better-suited end result through its diversified products and economy, enhanced resilience, smaller-scale, vanguard IMTA approach and its pragmatically tailored approach to the delivery of the SEAFARM research objectives (FA1-5).
Develop and analyse alternative
for the development of an economically viable cultivation for SEAFARM
case study: marine biofuel feedstock
Identify potential
& revenues
Explore the
seaweed & fish
aquaculture industries
Literature Review
Five semi-structured interviews
Source: FAO (2011) Review of the state of world marine fishery resources
Modular, can be scaled up
Highly profitable
Has potential to take over supply from fishing on a global level
High environmental risks

Mono-Trophic cultivation of top predators
Fish fed with other fish

Doesn't relieve pressure on natural fish stocks
Environmentally positive
Bioremediation agent

Support bioeconomy and green growth
Under-developed resource
High potential

Uneven global market
Profit depends on location
Not very profitable, especially where labour is expensive

Seaweed aquaculture
Fish aquaculture
Photosynthetic efficiencies common at 6 to 8%, compared to 1.8 to 2.2% for their terrestrial cousins
Theoretical fractioning of seaweed in a biorefinery should be possible, to isolate and extract these valuable products
Composed of many unique and valuable carbohydrates, proteins and lipids
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