Seaweeds are usually macroalgae that grow in shallow water. They might look ugly or slimy in the beach but they have a lot of potentials. They can be used to produce valuable products like food additives, growth regulators, biofuel and more. Seaweeds are advantageous over normal lignocellulosic plants as the former has higher growth rate and can be processed easily. They act as a natural carbon sink and grow using sunlight and seawater. They require zero freshwater and fertilizers for growth, thus becoming a sustainable and renewable source of biomass. It also helps in dealing with problems like land and water shortage.
Sea6 Energy Pvt Ltd is a Bangalore based company which is working on providing novel solutions in the field of energy, agriculture and feed. They try to harness the potential of the oceans by growing red seaweed Kappaphycus alvarezii. They have come up with technology that helps in automated seaweed farming in large scale. This requires special floating structures with mooring systems that enable open sea farming at optimum conditions required for the growth of seaweed.
Sea combine is an analogue for floating tractor used by Sea6 Energy to simultaneously seed and harvest seaweeds. The harvested seaweeds are collected in a container ship for further use.
The company has developed and commercialized plant growth stimulants for a variety of crops like paddy, wheat, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, tea and soybean among others. They are also developing other products like biofuel, food additives, animal feed and renewable plastics using seaweed as a raw material.
The company’s primary focus is to produce biofuel from red seaweed that can replace non-renewable energy sources. They aim to produce biofuel with zero net carbon emission. Production of algal biofuel reduces the dependency on fodder plants like sugarcane, corn and palm.
Sea6 Energy is also developing novel and cost-effective methods to produce quality food ingredients and animal feed with a significantly lower impact on the environment. Ocean farming of seaweeds can be an alternative way to meet the growing demand for energy, food and other products.