WP5 will investigate the environmental, economic, and social feasibility of the ALGECO project. The overall concept is to try and understand if the developed system is more sustainable than existing systems, if the economic benefit is worthwhile for further industrialization, and if the social and regulatory conditions are suitable for market exploitation. WP5 will assess the environmental impacts of the ALGECO using life cycle assessment (LCA) techniques. LCA is a tool where quantitative information on resource use and emissions of systems is collected and collated to give a representative picture of a product’s environmental and carbon footprint. The economic assessment being carried out in WP5 involves the use of SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) where market potential and barriers are investigated in combination with a life cycle costing. The social assessment involves investigating regulatory barriers and broader laws surrounding the bioeconomy as well as meetings and surveys with stakeholders and consumers regarding social acceptance of the ALGECO products. WP5 is led by the University of Agder but will work closely with WPs 2-4 for all activities.
WP5 already started in earnest in 2022, but our main research activities are taking place in 2023 and 2024. Our current work is focused on understanding the cultivation processes in WP2, the algae processing in WP3, and the product development in WP4, while collecting data for LCA and economic assessments. The main objective our current work is to establish a dataset (or life cycle inventory) of all the inputs, outputs, costs and potential emissions in the complete ALGECO value chain. This data collection process has already started with WP2 in 2022, and the next steps are to work with WPs 3 and 4 to collect the data needed for the economic and environmental assessments.
WP5 has also been strengthened with the official hiring of Benedikte Wrålsen, who began her position as a post-doc on the project on the 1st of April. Benedikte has been involved with ALGECO from the beginning, but now she will be working 80% on the ALGECO project. Her work has so far involved developing life cycle inventories for the ALGECO project with most focus on spent so far on WP2. WP5 leader Reyn O’Born and Benedikte will be travelling to NIVA Solbergstrand in early June to observe the cultivation activities and meet with WP2 participants and evaluate the data being collected. We will be working more closely with WPs 3 and 4 in the near future and will potentially visit SINTEF in Trondheim in the fall.
Keep checking on ALGECO's website for updates on WP5!