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Unlocking insights from Life Cycle Assessment of macroalgae cultivation and processing

The assessment of the life cycle of macroalgae cultivation and processing holds the promise of providing essential data regarding the environmental impact of these intricate processes. This, in turn, will significantly contribute to a deeper comprehension of their sustainability. Furthermore, the results of these assessments are expected to generate great interest within the sustainable biomass and biomaterials industry, as well as among macroalgae cultivation researchers across Europe.

Dr. Karina Balina together with Prof Laurie Hoffman (on the left) and Master's student Martin Müller (on the right)

Dr. Karina Balina, affiliated with the Circularity Transitions Research Group at the University of Latvia, recently embarked on a research mobility project. Her journey took her to the esteemed Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, where she engaged with fellow scholars, mentored a Master's student, and shared her expertise on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) insights related to algae-based industries.

Karina delivered a guest seminar at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research on October 5, 2023. The primary purpose of this seminar was to disseminate the project's findings and to discuss a wide range of possibilities to apply LCA to assess environmental impact.

This mobility project serves as a vital component of the larger initiative titled "Life Cycle Assessment of Land-Based Seaweed Cultivation for Packaging Materials".

The principal objective of this endeavour is to quantify the environmental footprint associated with the cultivation of Ulva in land-based cultivation ponds.
Simultaneously, it aims to assess the environmental viability of using this cultivated seaweed in the production of packaging materials.
The project employs LCA methodologies to comprehensively analyse the entire production chain, spanning from cultivation to product development at the laboratory scale.

Crucial project activities have been carried out across various institutions, including the University of Latvia, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, and the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences. These activities encompass co-mentoring a Master's student in the field of macroalgae cultivation, conducting environmental impact assessments, facilitating knowledge exchange through visits between Latvian and German institutions, data collection for LCA, and utilizing project results for the development of a Master's thesis.

For more information about this project or to request an interview with the project team, please contact the project manager:

PhD Karina Balina,

This Baltic-German University Liaison Office project is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.


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