Opportunities for seaweed biorefinery

Lene Lange, Urd Grandorf Bak, Steffen Cole Brandstrup Hansen, Olavur Gregersen, Paulien Harmsen, Eva Nordberg Karlsson, Anne Meyer, Maria D. Mikkelsen, Lambertus Van Den Broek, Guðmundur Óli Hreggviðsson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


This introductory chapter provides an overview of seaweed biorefinery opportunities, providing basis for multiple value chains, contributing to nutrition and health of a growing global population, to local job generation and development, to ecosystem services, and not the least to climate change mitigation and adaptation. A unique and rich diversity of the seaweed components provides the basis for the broad spectrum of value-chains described here. Red, brown, and green seaweeds are phylogenetically very different and this is reflected in their differences in growth, structure, and biochemical composition. Stable supply and high quality of feedstock are essential for unlocking the value-adding potential of seaweeds. A special focus of the chapter is to provide an overview of the range of different methods of seaweed production (through cultivation or from natural growth, collected or cut at the shore). Furthermore, the results of dedicated efforts to develop new deep-sea cultivation technologies of brown seaweed are highlighted. The chapter has a dual message with regard to seaweed processing: the need to develop more environmentally benign biological processing (to replace chemical processing); the advantage (regarding resource efficiency) and opportunities (social and economic) of designing seaweed biorefineries according to the cascading principle. Making optimized use of all valuable components of seaweed biomass, cascading from high-value products, such as skin care, health-promoting food and feed supplements and functional food ingredients; to lower-value products, such as plant stimulants, soil improvers, and bioenergy. Lastly, this introductory chapter provides global perspectives for future development of sustainable seaweed utilization, contributing to the UN-SDGs, providing livelihood and health for more.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable Seaweed Technologies: Cultivation, Biorefinery, and Applications
EditorsMaria Dolores Torres , Stefan Kraan, Herminia Dominguez
Number of pages29
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-12-817943-7
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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