Smelly piles of rotten seaweed and algae blooms are a growing problem in many parts of the world due to over-fertilization and climate change. New project will use robot technology to harvest and recycle the surplus of seaweed in a sustainable way.
In maritime environments with too much nitrogen and phosphorus, the extreme growth and surplus of seaweed and algae is a growing problem. All over the world, money is spent on collecting, handling and destroying the surplus of seaweed. However, seaweed has many useful properties and can be used as an energy source in biogas plants, as a fertilizer, for insulation and as a raw material in animal feed, in cosmetics or even as a healthy food for humans. Therefore, it makes good sense to collect and use it for something useful, and the global market value is estimated to be up to $ 10 billion. In addition, collecting seaweed can help reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus emitted in the oceans, and bring the marine environment into balance.
Over the next six months, the Dutch company RanMarine and Danish startup BrainBotics will collaborate on collecting seaweed along the Danish coastlines using the innovative drone WasteShark from RanMarine, which is a small autonomous vessel for waste collection in maritime environments.
Søren Pallisgaard from BrainBotics says “Surplus of seaweed and algae is a growing problem, but it is also a resource that we do not utilize. In recent years, robot technology has moved from being focused on industrial manufacturing, to being used as tool in solving a number of environmental problems. With this project, we want to show that technology can be used to remove and recycle surplus of seaweed in a sustainable way”
The initiative is supported by the EU project RIMA (Robotics for Inspection and Maintenance), which is a funding scheme under the EU’s research program.