Kelp farming for the future

Kelp farming for the future

It's happening now

The search for new natural resources, stricter requirements for climate emissions, and transformation to a circular bioeconomy are paving the way for what the EU says will become a global giga-industry, namely kelp farming. Norway now has the opportunity to take the driver seat, which is precisely what Kelpinor and members of the Norwegian Seaweed Association are now working to realize. Kelpinor's contribution is having developed a cultivation technology that reduces costs for kelp production by up to 40% compared to current methods.
Kelpinor combines environmental benefits with technology, all while developing industry and sustainable employment in Northern Norway. At the same time, Kelpinor supplies an essential nutritional ingredient for food, cosmetics, and animal feed. Not only that, the seaweed that Kelpinor grows can be used to create absolutely everything created by oil - by sequestering the carbon that is now swirling around in the atmosphere. Kelp cultivation thus helps reduce the sea's acidity and increase biological diversity.
Kelp cultivation process and value chain

Building an industry

Although kelp offers several significant advantages, it costs to develop an entirely new industry. These costs come in the form of dedication, personal sacrifice, and capital. Over the past 20 years, the seafood industry has invested 115 billion, which has been made possible by the growing interest in products from Norwegian aquaculture. This has resulted in stable high prices for raw materials, positioned Norway as a significant food exporter, and created a critical new source of income for Norway as a nation.
Several players and new stakeholders are now recognizing trends that suggest a similar type of development is happening with kelp farming over the next 20 years, and it is now up for decision in parliament that seaweed will be incorporated in the Norwegian Seafood Council's export mandate. The need for kelp as an ingredient in food production and a sustainable replacement for almost all oil products lays the foundation for growth. According to Sintef, the Norwegian coast will have the capacity to produce 20 million tonnes of kelp annually, or 13 times the production of the aquaculture industry today. For this to be possible, it requires dedicated work, expertise, and risk capital to build and expand production capacity.
As a student start-up at NTNU, Kelpinor is in a unique position, with the opportunity to involve some of the brightest minds from a dedicated tech ecosystem. Students know what it means to devote significant time and effort in the desire to make the world a better place. In addition to their studies, all the team members in Kelpinor have previously held positions within technical organizations such as Revolve NTNU and Ascend NTNU. For Hermann, the startup means that the last year of his master's degree was put on hold, and that all his time is spent scaling up kelp production in Northern Norway.
On September 1st, Kelpinor received recognition for their two years of work by winning the first prize in Equinor's "Together to INNOVATE" competition. The fact that Kelpinor won this competition emphasizes that this is not just an idea or a school project but a real business opportunity. From Equinor, the startup gets access to unique expertise from some of Norway's most experienced maritime industry experts and 300 000 NOK in development support.

​The Kelpinor team in Våg, Gildeskål

Kelpinor won Peoples Favorite!

In 2022, Kelpinor participated in the accelerator program Arctic Ignite from Norinnova, where we were one of ten participants. Norinnova is based in Tromsø and focuses on stimulating young entrepreneurship in Northern Norway. Arctic Ignite ended with a contest where Kelpinor sought and won the publics votes to be "People's Favorite" award and NOK 500,000 in development grants.
This award gave Kelpinor the weight it needed to achieve the first harvest of 15 tonnes of kelp as early in June 2023.
Thank you to everyone who voted Kelpinor, helping us contributing towards a sustainable future.

See the short documentary about Kelpinor's early days below:

Got Kelp?
Order now