Guests: Alexia Akbay | Founder | Symbrosia &
Julia Marsh | CEO | Sway
Category: 💬 Opinion | Seaweed
Podcast’s Essential Bites:
[1:30] JR: “The seaweed market has grown to become a $15 billion industry, and it's projected to grow to 25 billion by 2028.”
[3:47] JM: “At SWAY, we are replacing [...] plastics with seaweeds. So we use the naturally abundant polymers found in different types of seaweed that are farmed all over the world to replace single-use plastics. [...] This is really focusing [...] on packaging, but ultimately, we want to see seaweed making its way into all sorts of climate solutions.”
[4:19] AA: “At Symbrosia, we grow "new species" of algae in terms of commercially utilizing the species as a cattle feed additive to reduce their enteric methane emissions, which is the largest source of greenhouse gasses affiliated with livestock. [...] With a sprinkle of the seaweed in the feed, you can reduce their methane emissions by over 80% [...] in a commercial setting. So [a] pretty major reduction in this source of emissions."
[6:39] JM: “Historically [...] algae in general, has been a wonder as an input, particularly around biofuels and gas replacements [...] and so there had been a really big push for seaweed aquaculture and different microalgae production prior. [...] But what we found now [...] in this transition towards a bioeconomy or climate smart economy is that seaweed, while it might not be the solution for petrol, it could be a financially viable solution for a lot of other inputs, like plastic replacements [or] biological fertilizers."
[11:14] JM: "The most exciting [seaweed based] category to me is probably alternative fibers, because they're adjacent to plastics. And there's a lot of embedded plastics in the clothes that we wear that we don't think about. [...] There's emerging [...] startups in this space, who are trying to replace these frustrating plastic polymers that make their ways into clothing with seaweed. And then the other big space is food. [There's] a huge amount of interest in replacing bacon or burgers with seaweed."
[33:44] JM: “[Regarding seaweed sequestration,] there's recent work done by Oceans 2050 [...] that says, seaweed has the carbon sequestration potential of 421 teragrams, which [...] is a billion kilograms of CO2 annually, globally. Which is to say a seaweed already sequesters a ton of carbon all around the planet [...]. However, we don't know truly what happens when we sink it purposefully, in a man-made way down to the bottom of the ocean floor. [...] The other side would also say, why are we sinking valuable material to the bottom of the ocean floor when we could use it for things like livestock feed or bio materials?"
[38:41] JM: “The World Bank projects [that] there are 50 million indirect jobs and 50 million direct jobs related to the seaweed industry and food alone.”