Fisheries Secretary General, Carlos Dominguez Diaz, at a meeting designed to discuss algae issues. (Photo: MARM)
Algae farming, an activity with great potential
Friday, March 16, 2012, 16:40 (GMT + 9)
Algae farming offers good prospects for the future at a time when challenges such as climate change should be faced. That was one of the main conclusions of the conference 'Seaweed: Uses and Applications', organized by the Foundation Spanish Aquaculture Observatory (OESA).
The meeting was attended by the Secretary General of Fisheries, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MARM), Carlos Domínguez Díaz; representatives of the Office of Climate Change; members of the University of Las Palmas in Gran Canaria; representatives of the Institute of Plant Biochemistry and Photosynthesis from the University of Seville; members of Algaenergy; of Iberdrola; representatives of the Institute of Mutriku; and of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Science.
The head of the Technical Department of the Spanish Office of Climate Change, Guillermo Martínez, said the role of algae is being studied in the context of climate change "as a sink, a source of biofuel and even as food."
"Without doubt, algae farming is a reality today but it must also be a future alternative as it is a non-renewable, non-polluting and CO2 sensor resource," he pointed out.
Besides, he highlighted the use of algae in the energy sector and urged others to support innovation in order "to overcome the current difficulties related to the use of sustainable development patterns, supported by clean and renewable energy that strengthens the commitment to environment and resource conservation."
Martinez hopes that "progress in these areas under a sustainable framework will lead to viable solutions in the future," reported Innovaticias.com.
Carlos Padilla, coordinator of the project led by Iberdrola, said that this initiative contributes to the research on microalgae selection and farming, the growth medium and harvests, its assessment and implementation in a future "self-sufficient sustainable bio-town."
Meanwhile, Miguel García Guerrero, a professor at the Institute of Plant Biochemistry, noted that "it is an absolute priority to achieve a substantial reduction in production costs, leading to the review of organisms, farming systems and operating conditions."
For years Spanish farmers have grown algae for use as feed for their fish. And in Galicia and Andalusia, algae is collected at sea and sold as food or seasoning, the Business Association of Marine Aquaculture Producers of Spain (Apromar) cited.
Regarding the use of algae as biofuel, Dominguez recalled that in Spain about 30 research projects are being developed.
A team of researchers from the University of Vigo has been involved for three years in a European project for freshwater microalgae farming in a way that will facilitate the production of biodiesel and improve waste water status, according to Faro de Vigo newspaper.
By Analia Murias