“We cannot survive in a world that is failing”, is a famous quote that also applies to GOA-Ventures’ innovative business model. The chosen technology will benefit the delivery of renewable food and energy in one process flow, while also closing both the carbon and mineral cycles and even improving the aquatic environment.
Aquatic biomass constitutes more than 70% of all biomass on earth and is growing rapidly, growth that increases in speed every year due to the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere and subsequently, in the water. Due to this increase, seawater is becoming more acidic and an inhospitable habitat for living organisms. In addition, the increase of fertilisers (minerals such as N and P) leeching from the land, also benefits the growth of seaweed. The GOA technology will harvest and process seaweed, allowing us to bring the CO2 and minerals back to shore for re-use. At the same time, the acidification of the oceans is lowered.
GOA-Ventures will apply bio-refining technique to extract maximum value from seaweed. Initially, the technology will deliver functional proteins for human consumption, and biogas will be produced in one (1) process flow from the carbohydrate-rich biomass that remains. At the same time, this process also offers the option to extract minerals from the process water. In future improvements in the bio-refinery process, we can already see a handful of additional products (like Fuciodan, alginates and valuable oils) that will be able to be extracted from the same flow.
The actual partners involved in the project are leaders in their respective fields. Thornico (SANOVO) in particular is eager to act as the channel for novel functional seaweed proteins, whereas both ENECO and GASUNIE are in the lead to take biogas to the market. Supported by the seaweed science of NIOZ, both of these consumer representatives form the perfect team to deliver on expectations.
The GOA bio-refinery technology applied during lab tests has already generated attractive proteins and encouraging numbers on biogas production. Near-future tests and field tests can deliver proof that the protein is in fact a functional, food-grade product offering a high value, and the amount of biogas produced can be amazingly high since the carbohydrates from seaweed do not contain any lignin or solid cellulose.