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Deep dive seaweed

'NATURE'S SUPERHERO': WORLD FUND AND KATAPULT VC PUBLISH EXPLORATION OF SEAWEED AS AN ESSENTIAL CLIMATE SOLUTION

Global seaweed output has increased nearly three-fold over the past 20 years  and novel tech means its industrial uses now include food, additives, animal feed, bioplastics and bioenergy
  • The UN has called for a ‘seaweed revolution’ to help combat climate change, but the world has not yet optimised the vast climate potential of macroalgae 
  • To mark World Ocean Week 2024, World Fund and Katapult VC collaborated to produce a deep-dive article exploring how seaweed - which has been dubbed ‘nature’s superhero’ - can be scaled as a climate solution and presents a €multi-bn market opportunity
  • Seaweed is extremely versatile and can now be turned into food, additives, animal feed, biostimulants, pharmaceuticals/ nutraceuticals, cosmetics, bio-plastics, and bioenergy – in Europe alone, by 2030 the biostimulant market could be worth up to €1.8 billion and the bio-packaging market up to €1.3 billion
  • In this article, World Fund Partner Craig Douglas and Ross Brooks, Partner and Investment Director, Ocean, at Katapult VC, explore how and why seaweed can deliver for humanity, and where innovative tech startups need support


The deep dive article is available to read
here.

Berlin, Germany, 11 June 2024
- The ocean is incredibly effective at sequestering carbon through natural processes – today it holds around 50x more carbon than the atmosphere and has sequestered about 30% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Yet, until now ocean-based methods for CO2 removal have been under-explored. But European startups are finally making progress, notably in approaches and solutions centring on macroalgae,  also known as seaweed. 

Seaweed has been dubbed ‘nature’s superhero’, and the UN has called for a ‘seaweed revolution’ to help combat climate change. Global seaweed output has increased nearly three-fold over the past 20 years, and novel tech means its industrial uses now include food, additives, animal feed, bioplastics and bioenergy.

Today, Craig Douglas, Partner at Europe's leading climate tech VC, World Fund, and Ross Brooks, Partner and Investment Director, Ocean, at leading impact investor, Katapult VC, published a deep-dive article sharing insights on scaling seaweed as a climate solution. The piece also gives an overview of the current market landscape and exciting startups innovating in the field.

In the research-based article, released to coincide with World Ocean Week, the VC investors outline how seaweed can play a major role across two key areas, emissions reduction via valorisation and carbon dioxide removal (CDR), going forward. They also explore the challenges that need to be overcome for companies to succeed in the space, both in the short and long term.

Innovating alongside nature: why seaweed presents an  extensive opportunity 

The seas cover 70% of the surface area of the planet and ocean-based climate solutions provide enormous potential to scale. According to Food and Agriculture Organization data, the global seaweed output (both aquaculture and wild) has increased nearly three-fold over the past 20 years. This presents a major opportunity. Near-term solutions include using seaweed to help displace fossil-based products, such as in the creation of bioplastics and bioenergy. Seaweed could also be widely utilised as a food source, and as animal feed to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming.

Exciting startups are already working on delivering these solutions, and the potential market they are addressing is enormous. For example, in Europe alone, the biostimulant market could be worth up to €1.8 billion and bio-packaging up to €1.3 billion by 2030.  As noted in the piece, impressive startups innovating solutions include GOA Ventures, Oceanium , Origin by Ocean , Carbonwave, Ocean Rainforest and Arctic Seaweed.

Other novel biology-based methods being explored include CDR - sinking large amounts of this seaweed into the deep ocean, removing their carbon from the fast-carbon cycle of the surface oceans. Such methods are promising due to the high efficiency of marine photosynthesis, although challenges such as intensive capex still need to be overcome. Stand-out startups innovating here include Verra, Puro Earth and Samudra Oceans

To find out more about these challenges and the potential of seaweed, read the article here.

For Media Enquiries, please contact:
Veronica Fresneau, World Fund Head of Communications
veronica@worldfund.vc

*DISCLAIMER: this article has been produced utilising third-party data sources, linked in the article above.

About World Fund

World Fund is the leading Europe-focused climate venture capital fund established by Daria Saharova, Danijel Višević, Tim Schumacher, and Craig Douglas. World Fund is investing in scalable businesses with significant climate performance potential (CPP). The focus is on the sectors with the greatest need for decarbonization technologies: energy, buildings, manufacturing, transport, food, agriculture, and land use. World Fund is backing those entrepreneurs who are building tech for a regenerative world.

About Katapult
Katapult Ocean invests in and accelerates ocean impact ventures that solve climate and biodiversity challenges, provide food and clean water for people globally. Visit https://katapult.vc/ for more information. 

Veronica Fresneau, World Fund

Head of Communications

veronica@worldfund.vc

Harry Ashcroft

harry@worldfund.vc

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