Engineering Structures for Offshore Macroalgae Farming

Period of Performance: 05/29/2016 - 11/29/2016

$120K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

C.A. Goudey & Associates
21 Marlboro Street Array
Newburyport, MA 01950
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This project aims to identify and prove the feasibility of innovative, commercial-scale systems and methods for the cultivation of macroalgae on the high seas. The project team will achieve this goal by identifying candidate areas of the US EEZ that provide favorable conditions for industrial-scale macroalgae production and determine the environmental conditions in those areas that drive system design. We will then identify suitable macroalgae species and estimate their achievable culture density and growth rates. This information will guide our design of affordable and survivable systems that will enable the production of algal biomass in sufficient quantities to support biofuel production and carbon sequestration. We will test the most promising system at model scale in a wave basin to determine mooring tensions and internal forces under various combinations of currents and waves. These tests will also determine the structural adequacy of the system. Based on our wave basin finding, estimates of system costs, biomass capacity and growth rates, an economic analysis will be performed to determine the system’s commercial potential