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Draft standard for sustainable algae production to be discussed

Funded by NL Agency, Proforest has worked with the Biomass Technology Group (BTG) to carry out a sustainability assessment of a pilot project for algae production as co-culture in shrimp ponds in Southern Vietnam. Additionally, Proforest developed a draft standard for sustainable algae production which will be discussed at a stakeholder workshop in Utrecht, The Netherlands on 23 May next.

The Vietnamese Institute for Tropical Biology (ITB) and Algen Sustainables developed a pilot project for the production of algae as co-culture in existing shrimp ponds of small farmers in the Mekong Delta in Southern Vietnam. The project aimed to investigate the potential for converting this algae biomass into ethanol to secure a further income stream for shrimp farmers.

The project was financed by NL Agency, who approached Proforest and the Dutch Biomass Technology Group (BTG) to carry out a sustainability assessment of this pilot. The assessment concluded that, when scaled up, this type of aquatic biomass could offer socio-economic benefits to shrimp farmers and their communities without adverse environmental impacts.

Draft standard for aquatic biofuel

Proforest was also asked to develop a draft standard for sustainable algae production, which was field-tested on the pilot project. The standard is based on international best practice in social and environmental voluntary standard schemes. It includes environmental requirements such as the management of water, waste and energy, biodiversity conservation and protection, and greenhouse gas emissions.  It also includes social requirements on such issues as good labour practices and community rights and engagement.

The current draft standard includes specific criteria for the production of algae in shrimp co-culture settings. It is anticipated that additional specific criteria will be developed for other production methods of algae.

Multi-stakeholder workshop

The draft standard will be put forward for discussion to interested stakeholders at a workshop in Utrecht, The Netherlands on 23rd of May 2013. Participants will be drawn from the biomass industry, researchers and universities, and NGOs.

There are a few places left. If you are interested in participating, please contact arjen@brinkmann-consultancy.nl.

Published 19.03.2013