17 Nov 2022
Towards a strong and sustainable EU algae sector
The European Commission adopted the Communication ‘Towards a strong and sustainable EU algae sector’, a pioneering initiative to unlock the potential of algae in the European Union. The Communication proposes 23 actions to create opportunities for the industry to help it grow into a robust, sustainable and regenerative sector capable of meeting the growing EU demand. The EU is one of the biggest importers of seaweed products globally, and the demand is expected to reach €9 billion in 2030, especially in food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and energy production.
23 actions to boost the algae sector
The Commission identifies 23 actions, which aim to improve business environments, increase social awareness and acceptance of algae and algae-based products by consumers, and close the knowledge, research, and technology gaps. Some key actions include:
- developing a new algae farmers’ toolkit;
- facilitating access to marine space, identifying optimal sites for seaweed farming and including seaweed farming and sea multi-use in maritime spatial plans;
- together with the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), developing standards for algae ingredients and contaminants, as well as for algae biofuel;
- assessing the market potential, efficiency and safety of algae-based materials when used in fertilising products;
- examining the algae market and proposing market-stimulating mechanisms to support the transfer of technology from research to market;
- funding pilot projects for career reorientation and supporting innovative SMEs and projects in the algae sector;
- conducting studies and discussions to gain better knowledge, amongst others, on seaweed climate change mitigation opportunities and the role of seaweed as blue carbon sinks, define maximum levels of contaminants and iodine in algae;
- supporting, through Horizon Europe and other EU research programmes, the development of new and improved algae processing systems, novel production methods and algae cultivation systems;
- promoting awareness-raising actions and analyse availability of algae-related data.