A significant growth in the quantity of Sargassum in Caribbean waters and along its shores, has been recorded in recent years. The weed is causing considerable problems in the region, as aside from the stench it gives off when decomposing, it also clogs the engines and nets of fishing vessels. What is more, it is smothering sea grasses and coral reefs as well as releasing greenhouse gases as it decomposes.
In order to mitigate these problems, Damen Green Solutions has partnered with Maris and CMC, creating a consortium, known as Blue Caribbean Energy Solutions, which will collect and purify the seaweed, and turn it into biogas through a two-step process using low temperature anaerobic digestion as the first step. The residues of this process will then be fed into a high temperature anaerobic thermal reactor to turn them into usable methane.
Damen Green Solutions director Marcel Karsijns, stated:
Currently, the solutions to the Sargassum challenge only go as far as removing the weed from the sea. Often it is brought onto land and left to decompose, where it gives off damaging greenhouse emissions. What we are attempting to do is develop a holistic, circular solution that turns a negative into a positive. As well as offering clean energy, the aim of the project is also to deliver sustainable benefit to local economies
The consortium will present the developments of their solution between 24 and 26 October.