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Life Cycle Assessment of a large commercial kelp farm in Shandong, China
School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5888-4943
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0354-7189
School of Oceanography, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China.
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2023 (English)In: Science of the Total Environment, ISSN 0048-9697, E-ISSN 1879-1026, Vol. 903, article id 166861Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The environmental benefits of seaweed cultivation have gained a lot of attention, both in policy strategies and by private companies. Sustainability evaluations of seaweed farming have however focused on a very small part of global production of seaweed - on European cultivations at research and pilot-scales although Asia stands for 99 % of global production with China alone producing 60 %. In this study, we use Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental performance of a 400-hectare Chinese kelp farm with a yearly harvest of 60,000 tons. Primary data from the farm was used to assess impacts up until harvest for the functional unit of 1 ton of fresh-weight kelp. Included in the LCA were impact on climate change, acidification terrestrial and marine eutrophication, and use of land water and energy. In addition, we calculated nutrient uptake. Further, we extracted inventory data of four published LCA studies of farmed kelp and recalculated environmental impacts, applying the same background data and method choices with the aim to compare the effects of scale and cultivation system. The results of the hotspot analysis showed that the plastic ropes and buoys dominated impacts on climate change, freshwater and marine eutrophication, and energy consumption. Consequently, the most effective improvement action was recycling after use. The yearly harvest of the Chinese farm was 1000–4000 times larger than previously evaluated farms compared. Results suggest that streamlined and mature production in the large-scale Chinese kelp farm led to lower electricity and fuel consumption compared to small-scale production, thus placing the Chinese farm with a climate impact of 57.5 kg CO2 eq. per ton fresh-weight kelp on the lower end when comparing the carbon footprint. There was a large variation in carbon footprints, which implies that the kelp cultivation sector has considerable room for optimization.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier BV , 2023. Vol. 903, article id 166861
Keywords [en]
Commercial production, Environmental impact, LCA, Saccharina japonica, Seaweed aquaculture
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-337784DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.166861ISI: 001080438800001PubMedID: 37673254Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85170425758OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-337784DiVA, id: diva2:1803371
Note

QC 20231009

Available from: 2023-10-09 Created: 2023-10-09 Last updated: 2023-10-31Bibliographically approved

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Bergman, KristinaThomas, Jean-BaptisteGröndahl, Fredrik

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