The announcement coincided with the release of an extensive report ‘Traditional and Integrated Aquaculture‘ (in Norwegian, Tradisjonelt og Integrert Havbruk) which looks at the wide ranging challenges of aquaculture, particularly with sea food farming and IMTA (Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture). The report places these issues in context of a world in need of more sustainably produced food and renewable energy, and is therefore a timely addition to the Ocean Forest launch.
Bellona President Frederic Hauge said on the occasion of the Ocean Forest lanuch:
„Bellona will actively engage in the establishment of Ocean Forest to address aquaculture’s environmental challenges, help remove CO2 from the athmosphere while creating substantial economic values“.
Hauge further noted the key role of environmental foundations such as Bellona to focus forward:
„Ocean Forest is founded in a time when the world faces incredibly tough challenges. If we as an ennvironemental foundations are to achieve our mission, it will not do to simply point out problems. We must find solutions and dare to take part in their developmet and implementation, especially when both the proejct and timing is as right as it is now“
The earth faces explosive population growth, with standards of living and energy consumption rising dramatically. At the same time, climate change is leaving ever more land unarable while demands for food and water increse. It is therefore essential to find solutions which do not use more precious resources, but rather tap into existing processes and cycles. Ocean Forest aims to recycle what the earth has a lot of to produce what it needs more of.
The Ocean Forest site will be built to remove more CO2 from the atmosphere and ocean than it releases. This will be acheived through solutions synergising biology and technology. Extensive cultivation of algae and shells will contribute to mitigating climate change through their natural absorbtion and storage of CO2. Potential cultivation of biofuel in combination with CCS would enable the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere with resulting net negative emissions.
As the Traditional and Integrated Aquaculture report notes, the oceans absorb over 20 million tonnes of CO2 every day. This leads to significant oceanic acidification. Reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is so far the only clear way to reducing the amounts absorbed by the oceans and limiting this acidification. Cultivation of algae will itself reduce CO2 levels, with estimates indicating that one hectar microalgea can remove up to 66 tonnes of CO2. Because combustion of algae, like any other biomass, is CO2 neutral combining it with CCS would lead to net negative CO2 emissions, in effect removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Ocean Forest aims to find innovative and integrated solutions to aquaculture, with sustainability and restorative criteria at its core. At the same time it will develop a strong business case. The complex will be located at Sotra, off the Norwegian Hordaland coast, and will be fully operational in 2014. The first plantation of mussels and seaweed will begin in September. After five years of operation, the experiences and knowledge gained will provide a foundation for commercialisation.
Read also about the Sahara Forest Project.