Insights on the sustainability of a Swedish seaweed industry

Sammanfattning: Cultivated seaweed biomass is increasingly perceived as having tremendous potential as a multi-value, environmentally friendly and renewable biomass. Momentum is gathering along the Atlantic coast of Europe and across the world to capitalize on the potential of a more global seaweed industry. In Sweden, these developments have largely been sparked by the Seafarm project and it’s holistic biorefinery approach, which draws on key expertise from five Swedish Universities to lay the foundations for a future seaweed industry. As a part of the project, this thesis principally aimed to effectively assess the sustainability of ongoing developments, most notably through the lenses of viability, environmental life cycle perspectives and potential of a future Swedish seaweed industry. A strategy for assessing sustainability was thus developed with effectiveness in mind and anchored in a broad range of issues highlighted as knowledge gaps by stakeholders; a series of six studies resulted therefrom. Each study contributes insights regarding very specific aspects of the sustainability of a seaweed industry: on the viability of kelp biofuel, threats to viability in the form of potential public aversion to seaweed aquaculture, life cycle perspectives on the cultivation and preservation of seaweed biomass, on the scale and spatial potential of the industry on the West Coast, and finally, on the economic potential of this future industry. This collection of insights contributes six strategic pieces to the vast and dynamic puzzle that is the sustainability of a burgeoning seaweed industry. Together they paint a picture of a viable Swedish seaweed industry with promising potential to contribute positively to key sustainability challenges of the coming decades.