ISEES PARTICIPATE IN SEAWEED BIOREINERY PROJECT LAUNCHED IN GHANA

By Denmark Technical University, KNUST and CSIR Water Research Institute Partnership.

The project aims at establishing the relevant technology to develop local know-how and awareness of new business opportunities for production of seaweed (i.e. seaweed farming) and seaweed products (i.e. alginate, carrageenan and fucoidan) locally, thereby contributing to poverrty reduction and sustainable development in Ghana. The project was launched at CSIR STEPRI conference room. on 21-01-2015.

The project objectives include:

• Providing new knowledge through selection and characterization of the ideal indigenous seaweed species in Ghana for high quality yield seaweed polysaccharides such as carrageenan, alginate and fucoidan;
• Strengthening research capacity through development of efficient seaweed cultivation technology at sea and biorefinery approach for optimal utilization of seaweed biomass and seaweed processing residues;
• Development and identification of innovative and the most energy efficient and cost effective production of bioenergy;
• Transfer of verified research project results and technology of selective, bio-based processing technologies for seaweed biomass to establish pro-poor local enterprise for employment generation attracting economic and political incentives from government and investors;
• Empowering women and seaweed farmers to form associations and co-operatives to be able to access credit to expand their farms and seek to lobby politicians through District Assemblies to support the project.

EXPECTED OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

The project will provide:

• Technologies for seaweed production, seaweed processing and production of bioenergy in developing countries in Africa using Ghana as a model country;
• Creation of a sustainable green economy based on adaption capabilities, and business models that are implementable in Ghana through local production of seaweed and seaweed products, including bioethanol and bioelectricity;
Professional supervision, planning and prot ocols for seaweed cultivation, seaweed processing for polysaccharides production and production of bioethanol and bioenergy from seaweed processing waste;
• Development of effective collaboration and knowledge sharing among research institutions, industry and Government for national development and for further research; and
• Research results that will attract private business enterprise and public sectors to engage in seaweed production and production of various seaweed products.

The outcomes of the project will solve the following key scientific problems:

• Identification of the most suitable seaweed species for cultivation and production of seaweed products;
• Screening of indigenous enzyme producing microorganisms for in situ production of enzymes for sustainable seaweed processing;
• Optimal processing condition for extraction of seaweed polysaccharides;
• Utilization of seaweed processing waste for bioenergy production;
• Integration of the production of various seaweed products and bioenergy; and
• Sustainability assessment on the effects of seaweed production in the coastal community in Ghana development.

Other output: Several PhD and MSc students will be involved in the research.

RELEVANCE

Global demand: The demand for seaweed products is increasing due to its application capabilities in the food and pharma industry. Only few African countries (i.e Tanzania and South Africa) have engaged in seaweed production and are now benefiting from this industry. Ghana has high potential for seaweed production because of its large natural seaweed resources (200 species) and a long shoreline which is suitable for seaweed cultivation. Thus, huge opportunities exist for seaweed production and processing in Ghana.

Green economy and Tech adaptation capabilities: The government of Ghana and coastal communities are looking for sustainable solutions for exploiting their local seaweed resources. Knowledge for seaweed utilization, production of seaweed products, and waste conversion into bioenergy is established technology in Denmark. Implementation of these technologies through research and development cooperation between Danish and Ghanaian partners will therefore provide many benefits.

Project Contacts:
Dr. Moses Mensah
Department of Chemical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana
Email: mymens14@gmx.com
Mobile: +233 208537903

Dr. Anders Thygessen
Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Center for BioProcess Engineering (BIOENG), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark
Email: athy@kt.dtu.dk
Fax: +45 46774122
Mobile: +45 21326303