Danish Wind Farm Cultivates Climate-Friendly Foods to Combat the Climate Crisis

Seaweed attached to a line. Photo by DTU

(IN BRIEF) The Anholt Offshore Wind Farm in Denmark has launched a research project to cultivate low-carbon foods like seaweed and mussels while protecting the marine environment. The project aims to address both the climate crisis and marine conservation by leveraging the wind farm’s sea areas for sustainable food production. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are cultivating seaweed and plan to introduce blue mussel cultivation. These foods are environmentally friendly and require minimal energy for production. The project is co-owned by Ørsted, PensionDanmark, and PKA, demonstrating their commitment to responsible investment. It seeks to integrate marine conservation into renewable energy projects, potentially inspiring similar initiatives globally.

(PRESS RELEASE) FREDERICIA, 9-Nov-2023 — /EuropaWire/ —  Ørsted (CPH: ORSTED), a Danish leading operator of offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, and bioenergy plants as well as the world’s most sustainable energy company, announces that Denmark’s Anholt Offshore Wind Farm initiates an innovative project to cultivate low-carbon foods and bolster marine ecosystems. This initiative reflects the broader efforts to address climate change not just in energy sourcing but also in our dietary choices, as food production contributes significantly to carbon emissions. Additionally, the project aims to protect the marine environment, which faces significant challenges. Seaweed, known for its capacity to absorb carbon dioxide and nutrients while providing habitats for marine life, plays a central role.

Strategic Location and Vision

Ingrid Reumert, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Stakeholder Relations at Ørsted, emphasized the strategic significance of choosing the Anholt Offshore Wind Farm for this endeavor. She explained, “We’ll be constructing a lot of offshore wind farms over the next several years. If we can use the same areas at sea which are already being used to generate renewable energy to produce new, climate-friendly foods such as seaweed and mussels while simultaneously protecting the marine environment, we can really make a difference.”

Seaweed and Mussels: Environmentally Friendly Choices

As part of the ULTFARMS project, researchers from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are working diligently to cultivate three varieties of seaweed suitable for human consumption. These seaweed varieties thrive with minimal energy input. The project also plans to introduce blue mussel cultivation alongside seaweed by providing material for mussel larvae to settle on. Both seaweed and blue mussels play a vital role in the low-carbon food ecosystem, requiring minimal energy for production.

Jens Kjerulf Petersen, a professor at DTU, highlighted the selection of seaweed and mussels, explaining, “Seaweed is a plant that absorbs carbon dioxide directly, while cultivating mussels requires very little energy – they feed on what’s already in the sea, which is why they’ve been selected for this project. The area around Anholt has been chosen because the water has the right salinity for cultivating mussels and seaweed.”

Investing in Renewable Energy and Marine Ecology

Anholt Offshore Wind Farm, co-owned by Ørsted, PensionDanmark, and PKA, demonstrates a commitment to responsible investment. The new project not only addresses renewable electricity generation but also explores ways to produce sustainable, climate-friendly foods. By integrating marine environment preservation into renewable energy projects, they aim to streamline administrative processes and permit faster, sustainable offshore wind development.

Jan Kæraa Rasmussen, Head of ESG & Sustainability at PensionDanmark, emphasized the importance of this project, stating, “Offshore wind is a key to a green Europe independent of Russian gas, and we need to build at a scale never seen before. At the same time, the marine environment in Denmark is under pressure, and it therefore makes sense for us as responsible investors to engage in projects that investigate how we can ensure a build-out of renewable energy that isn’t only climate-friendly but also nature-friendly. And with this project, we’ll add a new dimension to the narrative about Anholt Offshore Wind Farm as an innovation hub – both for large-scale offshore wind deployment and for a future healthy and vibrant marine environment around Denmark.”

Dewi Dylander, Vice President and head of ESG at PKA, echoed the sentiment, saying, “Denmark is an international leader in offshore wind, and now we can also be the first to take the next steps and show that offshore wind can deliver not only renewable electricity but also climate-friendly foods and a more flourishing marine environment. If the project is successful, we can use it to inspire offshore wind players globally so that it sets a leading example for the build-out of much more offshore wind around the world in the years to come.”

A Decade of Green Innovation

Over the past ten years, Anholt Offshore Wind Farm has been at the forefront of green energy and innovation. Notable projects include the establishment of 25 boulder reefs that have since become thriving marine ecosystems. In partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF Denmark), the wind farm explored the use of 3D-printed reefs to bolster biodiversity in the Kattegat region.

Additionally, Ørsted and DSV conducted trials involving cargo drones to reduce carbon emissions and expedite wind turbine repairs. These innovative endeavors showcase the wind farm’s dedication to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In spring 2024, the project will progress as DTU begins seaweed harvesting at Anholt, evaluating the ecological and economic feasibility of sustainable seaweed cultivation in the offshore wind farm’s waters.

About Anholt Offshore Wind Farm

  • Anholt Offshore Wind Farm is located in the Kattegat in Denmark between the peninsula Djursland and the island of Anholt and covers an area of 88 square kilometres.
  • People from all over the world have visited Anholt Offshore Wind Farm since Ørsted installed the 111 wind turbines with a total capacity of 400 MW in 2012-2013.
  • The power production from the wind farm is completely carbon-neutral and exceeds the annual consumption of more than one million Danes.
  • When completed in 2013, the offshore wind farm was the world’s largest.
    Today, the world’s biggest offshore wind farm is Hornsea 2, with a production of more than 1.3 GW. Hornsea 2 is located in the UK and is also owned by Ørsted.
  • The 111 wind turbines at Anholt have a rotor diameter of 120 metres and a hub height of 82 metres.
  • 51 technicians and administrative staff work with operation and maintenance (O&M) of the wind farm, and the O&M base is located at the Port of Grenaa.
  • Ørsted has developed and constructed Anholt Offshore Wind Farm and is responsible for its operation. The company owns 50 % if the wind farm, while the Danish pension funds PensionDanmark and PKA own the remaining 30 and 20 %, respectively.

About seaweed and blue mussels as sources of food
The cultivation of mussels and seaweed has a lower impact on the environment – and particularly the climate – than land-based agriculture, and they contain both healthy proteins and other nutrients. In addition, many fish stocks around the world are overfished, so to replace these stocks, we need new sources of food.

The following species of seaweed and mussel will be cultivated at Anholt Offshore Wind Farm:

  • Sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima). Used in sushi, among other things.
  • Dulse (Palmaria palmata). A natural flavour enhancer known as the ‘bacon of the sea’ because of its umami taste.
  • Oarweed (Laminaria digitata). Also known as ‘kombu’. Used in soups and salads, among other things.
  • Blue mussels. A well-known food that can be eaten steamed or fried.

Download photos of Anholt Offshore Wind farm and the projects here.

Read more about Anholt Offshore Wind Farm here.

The ULTFARMS project at Anholt is part of a larger EU-funded project which aims to optimise the production of foods under harsh offshore conditions and to establish a profitable, sustainable, and ecological production chain at offshore wind farms located in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Read more here.

For further information, please contact: 

Ørsted Global Media Relations
Thor R. Wilkens
+45 99 55 44 07

PensionDanmark Media Relations
Jacob Therkelsen
+45 31 12 67 08

PKA Media Relations
Nicholas Rindahl
+45 30 16 11 24

About Ørsted
The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs and operates offshore and onshore wind farms, solar farms, energy storage facilities, renewable hydrogen and green fuels facilities, and bioenergy plants. Ørsted is recognised on the CDP Climate Change A List as a global leader on climate action and was the first energy company in the world to have its science-based net-zero emissions target validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Headquartered in Denmark, Ørsted employs approx. 8,700 people. Ørsted’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Copenhagen (Orsted). In 2022, the group’s revenue was DKK 132.3 billion (EUR 17.8 billion).  Visit orsted.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.

SOURCE: Ørsted A/S


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