Sustainability assessment of the use of seaweed as a feed supplement at Institut for Fødevarevidenskab - Københavns Universitet

The growing global population, accompanied by increasing levels of affluence, will lead to substantial increases in the demand for protein. Meanwhile, environmental degradation and reduced ecosystem resilience caused by anthropogenic disturbances call for an urgent halt in the economic development based on linear resource management coupled with insufficient pollution control. To address the global societal challenge of food security and safety, in particular, to meet the future demand for protein, eco-industrial production systems designed with environmental are needed. Seaweeds represent a novel sustainable biomass resource with no demand for freshwater, arable land, and fertilizers. In the project ClimateFeed funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark, the use of seaweed and a feed supplement for reducing enteric fermentation from livestock production is assessed. End applications are also being investigated, including the integration of seaweed-based protein to cheese products as flavoring agent, and the application of seaweed-based protein as a substitute for milk protein.

Key research questions to be answered: 1) From a life cycle perspective, what are the environmental impacts of the seaweed-based products?, 2) Are carbon capture during cultivation able to counterbalance the GHG emissions from biomass production and downstream processing activities?, and 3) How much more environmentally sustainable are products obtained from livestock feed by feed that includes seaweed supplements compared to conventional productss?

To answer these questions, the following investigations will be performed: 1) process inventory of biomass production, transportation, biorefinery, further processing, and use processes; 2) life cycle assessment of the entire value chain using Simapro; 3) benchmarking of the seaweed-based products with the equivalent conventional products.

For the assessment, primary data from project partners are to be collected, including data on environmental and climate effects through removal of N, P and CO2 from the marine environment, and avoided emissions of N2O and CH4 (WP2), frying, fermentation, and extraction of seaweed protein (WP3), biorefinery yield and product characterization (WP4), and protein digestibility and quality (WP5), functional food properties and sensory characterization (WP6). To fill potential data gaps, secondary data sources such as scientific literature and industrial reports are to be consulted.

Contact person / supervisor:
Professor Marianne Thomsen, mth@food.ku.dk, Section for Food Design and Consumer Behaviour

Attention: When applying for this thesis, remember that there are specific regulations and requirements that needs to be met in order for you to include it as part of your education. For more information on criteria, please contact your local student advisor as outlined here Faculty student advisors (in Danish)

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