Joint Industry Research Project for Carbon Offsetting in Norway
- New seaweed farm off the Norwegian coast explores to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
- First investment of Wintershall Dea in carbon offsetting research project
- SINTEF, DNV, Equinor, Aker BP and Ocean Rainforest are Wintershall Dea’s partners in three-year pilot project
Wintershall Dea has joined a research project that seeks to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The new seaweed farm has recently been established off the coast of Trøndelag in Norway. The first phase of the project started in 2022 and in December 2023 the first seaweed seedlings were deployed. The offshore facility will be used to test how large-scale seaweed cultivation can become a cost-effective, permanent and sustainable ocean-based carbon removal solution.
As part of its Energy Transition Pathway, Wintershall Dea invests in nature-based solutions (such as forest protection and reforestation) to compensate for hard to abate emissions which cannot be further reduced appropriately. The Joint Industry Seaweed Carbon Solutions Project is one of the first carbon offsetting research projects which the company invested in.
Project outcomes can establish verified methodology for large-scale CCS
The search for effective and sustainable solutions for carbon capture and storage intensifies. Large-scale seaweed cultivation may present an opportunity to capture substantial amounts of carbon on a global scale.
“Carbon capture and storage plays a vital role in Winterhall Dea’s company strategy and is our contribution to tackling climate change. In order to find natural and technical solutions with high potential of removing carbon directly from the atmosphere, research projects to verify the possibilities are vital. That is why we are pleased to be a partner in the Joint Industry Seaweed Carbon Solutions Project”, says Nadja Wendler, Vice President Sustainability at Wintershall Dea.
Besides Wintershall Dea, SINTEF, DNV, Equinor, Aker BP and Ocean Rainforest are partners in this three-year pilot project to investigate if seaweed can assist in ocean-based carbon removal solutions. If successful, it could contribute to substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thereby achieving climate goals, while also providing Norway with new industries and job opportunities.
Many initiatives focus on reducing emissions, whereas the goal of this project is to research how already emitted carbon dioxide (CO₂), can be removed from the atmosphere. Additionally, researchers will examine how the carbon dioxide can be stored.
Proof of concept is key before upscaling
The licensed aquaculture site, which covers 200 decares, has received the first seaweed seedlings that have been cultivated in laboratories. The multi-functional demonstration site allows the researchers to test innovative aquaculture technologies, both for biomass and environmental monitoring, and cultivation strategies for yield optimisation as well as technology for harvesting the biomass. Since December, the seedlings grow in favourable conditions off the Trøndelag coast for eight to ten months. The first harvest will take place in summer 2024. Researchers estimate the seaweed yield will be approximately 150 tonnes in the first season which potentially could capture 15 tonnes of CO2.
About the seaweed farm
Following the approval by the Trøndelag Fylkeskommune, the seaweed farm has been located off the coast of Mid-Norway, outside the island of Frøya, at Storflua in Frohavet. The ocean cultivation unit is part of the Norwegian Seaweed Centre funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The cultivation unit will be used by several major seaweed research projects. SINTEF obtained the aquaculture licence in summer 2023. The facility covers 200 decares, and the farm has currently a capacity of 55,000 meters of seaweed lines.