Eco-anchor: scaling up sustainably

What is the project about?

To upscale the seaweed sector in a sustainable way, we initiated a project that focuses on building a sustainable anchoring system; the foundation of every future sea farm. The anchor holds the sea farm in place, is nature-friendly and built from safe materials.

Why is this important?

Considering the challenges the world currently faces on climate and food production, the Dutch seaweed sector needs to scale up in production locations, technologies, yield and markets. However, this upscaling needs to be done in a sustainable fashion in order to have a healthy future. Both for the sea, nature and the industry. That means we have to define how we can upscale sustainably and develop the needed materials to do so. The anchoring system is an essential part of the sea farm, thus essential for the future of industry to develop this in a nature inclusive way. 

What were the objectives?

  • Develop a design for a nature friendly eco-anchor based on state of the art research
  • Build a prototype of a nature friendly eco-anchor and test in an offshore environment
  • Engage general public in process to create more likeability of Dutch sea farms and it’s seaweed.

What did we do in this project?

We are in the lead of this project; we carry out the research for the design and coordinate the development of the protype. Also, we engage the general public for Dutch sea farms & seaweed.

What are the results?

In phase 1 of the project we focussed on the feasibility and design of the eco-anchor.  The initial steps in the development of the eco anchor as a building block for the multi-use seaweed farm have been taken: The concept design of the eco-anchor is ready, a 'letter of intent' with a wind farm owner has been signed, and awareness and involvement has been generated for offshore seaweed cultivation.

In phase 2, the prototype will be further developed and it is time for implementation and testing the prototype of the eco-anchor in an offshore environment. During this phase, we also work on raising awareness and acceptance of the eco-anchor, so that protecting biodiversity is seen as a requirement when scaling up sustainable offshore seaweed cultivation. The prototypes were deployed at the Offshore Test Site . As the aim of the anchors is to promote biodiversity in the scaling up of Dutch seaweed cultivation, the anchors will be inspected regurarly in the first half of 2022 to see if different (micro-) organisms have attracted to the construction.  If successful, these anchors will set the example for the industry by showing how eco-friendly solutions can be worked into every aspect of the cultivation process.

Who else were involved?

This project is supported by the AFAS Foundation. For the development of the eco-anchor several stakeholders related to farming at sea will be consulted and involved, for instance: environment and nature organisations, stakeholders in offshore wind and mooring design.  

Finance: 280.000 (phase 2)
Partners: t.b.d.
Time: Phase 2 06/2020 to 02/2022
Contact: Zinzi