Explorative environmental life cycle assessment for system design of seaweed cultivation and drying

Roel van Oirschot, Jean Baptiste E. Thomas, Fredrik Gröndahl, Karen P.J. Fortuin, Willem Brandenburg, José Potting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Seaweeds are presently explored as an alternative source to meet the future protein demand from a growing world population with an increasing welfare level. Present seaweed research largely focuses on agri-technical and economic aspects. This paper explores directions for optimizing the cultivation, harvesting, transport and drying of seaweed from an environmental point of view. An environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and detailed sensitivity analysis was made for two different system designs. One system design is featuring one layer of cultivation strips (four longlines side by side) interspaced with access corridors. The other system design is featuring a doubling of cultivation strips by dual layers in the water column. Impact profiles and sensitivity analysis showed that the most important impacts came from drying the harvested seaweed, and from the production of the chromium steel chains and polypropylene rope in the infrastructure. This indicates that caution should be used when designing cultivation systems featuring such materials and processes. Furthermore, the high-density productivity of the dual layer system decreases absolute environmental impacts and so found to be a little more environmentally friendly from a life cycle perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
JournalAlgal Research
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

life cycle assessment
macroalgae
drying
ropes
polypropylenes
steel
chromium
infrastructure
life cycle (organisms)
environmental impact
economics
systems engineering
proteins
water

Keywords

  • Algae cultivation
  • Environmental impacts
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Macroalgae

Cite this

van Oirschot, Roel ; Thomas, Jean Baptiste E. ; Gröndahl, Fredrik ; Fortuin, Karen P.J. ; Brandenburg, Willem ; Potting, José. / Explorative environmental life cycle assessment for system design of seaweed cultivation and drying. In: Algal Research. 2017 ; Vol. 27. pp. 43-54.
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Explorative environmental life cycle assessment for system design of seaweed cultivation and drying. / van Oirschot, Roel; Thomas, Jean Baptiste E.; Gröndahl, Fredrik; Fortuin, Karen P.J.; Brandenburg, Willem; Potting, José.

In: Algal Research, Vol. 27, 2017, p. 43-54.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Explorative environmental life cycle assessment for system design of seaweed cultivation and drying

AU - van Oirschot, Roel

AU - Thomas, Jean Baptiste E.

AU - Gröndahl, Fredrik

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AU - Brandenburg, Willem

AU - Potting, José

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AB - Seaweeds are presently explored as an alternative source to meet the future protein demand from a growing world population with an increasing welfare level. Present seaweed research largely focuses on agri-technical and economic aspects. This paper explores directions for optimizing the cultivation, harvesting, transport and drying of seaweed from an environmental point of view. An environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and detailed sensitivity analysis was made for two different system designs. One system design is featuring one layer of cultivation strips (four longlines side by side) interspaced with access corridors. The other system design is featuring a doubling of cultivation strips by dual layers in the water column. Impact profiles and sensitivity analysis showed that the most important impacts came from drying the harvested seaweed, and from the production of the chromium steel chains and polypropylene rope in the infrastructure. This indicates that caution should be used when designing cultivation systems featuring such materials and processes. Furthermore, the high-density productivity of the dual layer system decreases absolute environmental impacts and so found to be a little more environmentally friendly from a life cycle perspective.

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