Amazon has announced it is funding the world’s first commercial-scale seaweed farm located between offshore wind turbines in the Netherlands, using untapped ocean space.
The project, known as North Sea Farm 1, will be located in a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, it has been designed to test and improve methods of seaweed farming while researching seaweed’s potential to sequester carbon – the process of capturing, removing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the earth’s atmosphere.
Carbon capture is crucial to reach global climate targets and limit global warming in line with the Paris Agreement to 1.5 °C. Nature-based carbon capture solutions, like seaweed and tree planting, play a significant role in what must be a varied approach to reduce carbon.
Despite the widespread belief that rainforests are the best line of defence against climate change, researchers have discovered that seaweed is the most effective natural way of absorbing carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Algae grows fast without the need for freshwater or fertiliser and requires very little maintenance. It can also be used as a feedstock for the production of biofuels, mitigating emissions created by the production of other energy sources.
“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.”
The tech giant is granting €1.5 million (£1.3m) to the project and is expected to provide the investment required to construct a 10-hectare seaweed farm, which is expected to produce at least 6,000 kg of fresh seaweed in its first year. It is aiming to be operational by the end of this year.
The funding is part of Amazon’s $100 million (£83m) Right Now Climate Fund, the company’s commitment to support nature-based solutions, which runs alongside the work the company is doing to decarbonise its operations.
Amazon has announced significant progress towards addressing climate change, including investing in numerous clean energy projects and introducing the world’s first net zero certified fulfilment centre.
However, a recent report from non-profit Global Canopy has revealed that despite these efforts, many companies, including the retailer, may fail to achieve their net zero commitments due to insufficient investment in reducing deforestation within its supply chain.
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