Ocean Challenge Accepted – How pioneering algae-based products could combat climate change

Oslo, 14 June 2023 – This week more than 40 scientists from across Europe travelled to Oslo to launch a new research initiative called LOCALITY, which stands for “Leading Ocean’s Circular Algae Transition in the Baltic and the North Sea”. The project aims to tackle climate change challenges through innovative and sustainable algae-based solutions. Led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research NIVA, the project has secured funding of up to 8.5 million Euros by the European Commission. But what is the plan?

Margarida Costa, the Coordinator of the LOCALITY project explains the key strategies of the project: “By cultivating seaweed from Kattegat and harvesting cyanobacteria from the Gulf of Finland or Botnia, we want to reduce the impact of climate change on oceans. Our efforts include the simultaneous removal of nutrients, which helps combat the excessive enrichment of water with nutrients, often leading to harmful algal blooms and ecological imbalances. But this is only the first half of our plan. We also want to transform different industries, who could make use of our algae-based biomass.”

In other words, the aim is to refine this biomass into new and innovative raw materials for novel algae-based products. They include new plant-based functional ingredients fighting sea lice infections for the use in aquaculture, novel food products for human consumption and ecological dye for the textile industry, promoting a sustainable and resource-efficient economy. Both industry leaders, such as Aller Aqua from Denmark and start-ups like Mounid from Sweden or Viva Maris and Quazy Food from Germany, will be developing and testing these product lines.

Margarida Costa expresses her optimism for this ground-breaking endeavour: “This project has the potential to transform industries and lead us towards a more sustainable future. At the same time, LOCALITY stands at the forefront of combating climate change, protecting the environment, and working for a sustainable future for generations to come.”

Image: Group Photo from the Kick-of Meeting in Oslo, Norway (Source ESCI)