Led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this 4-year project focused on the integrated cultivation and harvest system design of kelp farms with the goal to increase efficiency and/or reduce costs. This project was funded by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) which is interested in the scalable production of macroalgae for potential future use as a biofuel. The intent of this project was to design replicable farms that are cost-effective systems for growing sugar kelp. Through innovative technology and practical solutions, the project team's objective was to reduce costs associated with kelp farming. Test sites for this project were identified in New England and Kodiak, Alaska.
The first outplanting at the Kodiak farm site took place in the fall of 2019. Since then, the project team has learned a lot about growing kelp! The goal of the project is to integrate all aspects of kelp farming into the test site. From seed production to harvest and reseeding, these efforts look at the many ways we can best grow sugar kelp in Alaska's productive waters. There is still more to come with this project! This is a fist look at some of the techniques and gear used at the Kodiak farm site.