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Maritime Forum

Discover what’s behind EU4Algae Working Group 5: Algae4eco

The EU4Algae working groups are in full swing! Close to 700 European stakeholders are discussing, debating, connecting and working together on the most pressing challenges for the algae sector. In the upcoming weeks, discover every working group and...

If you’re interested in joining EU4Algae and contributing to the Working Groups, click here for more information.

The facilitator of this working group, Efthalia Arvaniti shares her thoughts about Algae4eco below.

What is the working group about?

Algae4eco is about supporting the algae industry access markets within bioremediation and ecosystems services with algae.


Why is it important for the algae sector in Europe?

Algae are a very fast-growing group of natural organisms that can process waters rich in CO2 and dissolved nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, to produce biomass, that can be rich in protein, carbohydrates, and other valuable components. In doing so, algae also release oxygen in the water. The combination of these attributes can find many industrial applications, both on land and at sea, such as the mitigation of marine fish farming pollution, and the treatment of industrial side-streams and wastewaters. Furthermore, seaweed farming can provide additional services in aquatic ecosystems: reduce eutrophication, increase aquatic biodiversity, and improve water quality.

Such bioremediation and other ecosystem services have been studied in Europe (and overseas) and by now there are concepts that have been demonstrated at industrial-relevant scale. However, many more opportunities exist that are currently untapped due to technical, market and regulatory barriers.

What are you hoping to achieve?

With this working group we target co-creation activities with EU-wide stakeholders to consolidate knowledge, boost the adoption of the algae technologies and accelerate the market access for the ecosystem services. We will develop recommendations for removing relevant innovation and market access barriers. The WG5 will also promote practices and success stories for nutrients, carbon and energy recovery/recycling with algae, aiming to raise awareness of the algae ecosystem benefits and opportunities, thus supporting the growth of the market. Finally, we will support and promote standardization efforts of algae ecosystem services aiming to compensate providers.

If you had any advice to give to someone that is entering the algae sector (in any capacity), what would it be?

The benefits of algae are clear, but hard facts are paramount to support both product/service licensing and marketing of algae. Thus, setting up proper monitoring/tracking and standardisation processes are key to success. In this setting, talking to your value chains, including your competitors, can be very helpful!

About the EU4Algae Forum 

Algae have been produced and consumed throughout the world for centuries. Especially appreciated in Asian cuisine, they are recently becoming a common ingredient in Western vegan dishes. Outside the culinary realm, algae have become a go-to feedstock for sustainable industrial applications such as biodegradable plastics. Moreover, their production helps improve ocean health by reducing carbon dioxide, phosphorus and nitrogen in marine ecosystems. They are also a nursery and hide-out for many marine animals, stimulating underwater biodiversity. 

Despite all the above, the uptake of algae production and consumption in Europe is slow. In comes the EU4Algae Forum! Together with all relevant stakeholders within the European algae sector, we aim to scale up a regenerative, resilient, fair and climate-friendly algae industry and bring more novel algae species to the market. 

The platform is a unique space for collaboration among European algae stakeholders, including algae farmers, producers, sellers, consumers, technology developers, business-support organisations, investors, public authorities, academia, researchers and NGOs. It also acts as a single information hub on algae funding calls, projects, business-related information, intelligence and best practices. 

If you’re interested in joining EU4Algae and contributing to the Working Groups, click here for more information.