Even today 90% of the worlds energy still comes from the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas, all of which are in limited in supply and will one day be exhausted. AT-SEA hope to change this trend.

AT-SEA is a 3-year European project tasked with looking at the viability of seaweed as a suitable alternative to its equivalent landlocked biomass cousin.

Specifically the AT-SEA team hope to develop advanced 3D textile substrates to cultivate macroalgae or seaweed. Along with these massive textile sheets, the team are researching the feasibility of also creating textile based cables and connections to anchor the multilayer textile sheets, and coated textiles for lightweight tubes and storage systems for the seaweed.

Even if the team reach one of the three objectives particularly the mass growth of seaweed using the specially prepared textile substrate, I would suggest the team have a strong argument to continue researching the various elements of offshore biomass production using macroalgae.

In previous blogs I've talked about the positive benefits of land produced biomass however when you consider the amount of land and water that is required to produce successful crops and then consider the food-energy nexus you begin to understand why so much interest is currently being given to large scale ocean based farms for growing and cultivating microalgae. 70% of the earths surface is water so you have to wonder not how but when will we start harnessing the strength of the sea's natural resources to ease our reliance on the earths fossil fuels.