Integrating seaweed aquaculture to the third biggest port in the UK  

Dr Sara Barrento gave three oral presentations at the Aquaculture Europe 2017 Conference, which took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from the 17-20th October 2017. All presentations are available on slideshare.

  1. Barrento, S., Weston, K., Fernandes, F.,  Nuuttila, H. Integrating seaweed aquaculture to the third biggest port in the UK  
  2. Barrento, S., Whittaker, B., Stringwell, R., Howes, P., Pires, A., Jennings, B., Smith, R., Garcia de Leaniz, C. Training the next generation of aquaculture technologists in the era of climate change
  3. Barrento, S., Whittaker, B., Stringwell, R., Howes, P., Pires, A., Jennings, B., Smith, R., Garcia de Leaniz, C. Testing the low octane diet to keep lumpfish small

New project PILOTS4U is launched…

Project Website:

The launch of Pilots4U heralds a boost for the bioeconomy in Europe

The Pilots4U project was recently launched when the eight project partners came together in Ghent to discuss future action. Pilots4U is a European project funded by the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The purposes of the project is to map open access pilot and demonstration infrastructures across Europe, to help companies and research institutions operating in the bioeconomy gain easier access to testing facilities to bring their ideas from development to market.

The European bioeconomy sector is growing rapidly, as the knowledge of converting biological resources into value added products, such as biochemicals, bioplastics, biodetergents, food, feed medicines, pulp- and paper products, and bioenergy is gaining ground. The European Commission also sees the development of a thriving bioeconomy as central to achieving a resource-efficient and sustainable economy, as well as a way of responding to increasing populations,  depleting natural resources and climate change.

To reach its full potential, companies and institutions operating in the bioeconomy sector need support to develop their innovations into marketable products, which involves access to state-of-the-art-testing facilities that can scale-up their innovative processes from laboratory to industrial scale. Early collaboration with such a facility offering access to a wide range of process equipment and experienced personal can substantially reduce costs, risks and development time and will enhance the chance to successful market entry.

One of the main barriers in the development of the sector is that many companies and R&D performing organisations are not aware of or assume they do not have access to these state-of-the-art industrial pilot and demonstration plants. Hence, the Pilots4U project sets out to map all existing open access bio-economy pilot- and multipurpose demonstration facilities, including data on available equipment and personnel competences, with the aim of creating one easily accessible database for all actors operating in the European bioeconomy. In parallel, Pilots4U will survey potential users of open access facilities to understand their needs for equipment and expertise. Comparing the available assets with the needs expressed by industry will clarify the areas in which investment in infrastructure for innovation is required. By improving the overview and thereby, access to pilot and demonstration facilities, Pilots4U will promote innovation in the sector by assisting industry and R&D organisations in getting their innovations closer to market.

Project Coordinator, Lieve Hoflack, welcomed the establishment of the project saying: “Pilots4U aims to help SMEs, start-ups, and also large enterprises and research institutes to easily find an open access pilot facility that can bring their innovation to industrial scale. Pilot facilities play a vital role in bringing innovations to the market and open access facilities substantially lower the risk associated with taking this step mainly for SMEs and start-ups.  We expect Pilots4U to result in the empowerment of SMEs to commercialize their innovation themselves thus generation local jobs in Europe.”

This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nr. 745667.

For more information, please contact: Communication & Dissemination Lead, Ryan Titley, Strategic Planning Manager, ERRIN,, Mob: +32 (0)476 82 29 65

Project Website:


Swansea University (Pr Kevin Flynn, Dr Alla Silkina and Dr Claudio Fuentes Grunewald)

and others:




Innovative circular economy solutions for the AD industry workshop

A workshop, funded by NRN-LCEE, held overlooking the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on 11th October discussed new ways that algae could help strengthen the AD industry as part of a developing circular economy.  A team of 30 expert stakeholders including policy makers, industry practitioners and academic researchers contributed to a dynamic workshop combining expertise on agricultural nutrient management, on anaerobic digestion of food and farm waste and on cultivation and use of algae.  Algal technologies could bring sought after solutions to help close nutrient cycling loops, addressing nutrient bottlenecks and adding value to enable further expansion of a thriving AD industry.  Tim Pullen AGL Energy Ltd commented ‘It is good to know that there is genuine innovation occurring in the AD industry’.

The workshop led by Swansea University (Carole Llewellyn, Associate Professor of Applied Aquatic Bioscience), Aberystwyth University (Dr Will Stiles, KE Fellow) and Bangor University (Dr Dave Styles, Lecturer in Life Cycle Assessment) demonstrated the effectiveness of bringing different communities together to create new innovative solutions to food and farm waste processing and deriving value products such as fish feed and biochemicals. Lynsey Melville, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Birmingham City University, commented ‘The range of expertise in the room was invaluable and led to really productive and interesting forum’.  Many new useful contacts were made through the day and the network will continue to work together.


Developing  circular economy solutions using algae to reduce agricultural nitrate pollution and develop feed products

Swansea Science Festival 2017

We were there, and it was awesome. The science festival which took place in Swansea Water Front Museum from the 8th to the 10th of September was entertaining and full of hands-on experiences to discover science through theatrical presentations, music, and demonstrations. We had a stall full of creatures and fun activities to do with the family. You can download our fun activity pack here


These activities were created and delivered by Sara Barrento (lecturer at Swansea University); the Swansea University PhD candidates: Jessica Knoop, Ben Whittaker, Suzana Leles and master student Katie Weston. Pietro Francinetti kindly helped out packing up. A great team work and some lessons learnt – we need more volunteers for the weekend days!

Kelp forests are magical places. These threatened habitats are vital for the functioning of the planet. Follow the journey of the creation of the seaweed Wonder Bay at the Natural History Museum in this two part film.

Part 1

Part 2



“Natural colours from the sea for a natural lifestyle” by Claudio Fuentes Grünewald, a finalist for the Art competition of Swansea University

Dr Claudio Fuentes Grünewald

Vacancy for Postdoctoral Researcher

Documenting seaweed diversity and training in seaweed identification in the Falklands

Vacancy for Postdoctoral Researcher, Falklands Marine Forest Habitats

Salary: £32,825 per annum plus benefits

Location: London

Kelp forests provide spawning grounds for the Falklands squid fishery and are a major habitat for red listed cetaceans. However, they are potentially threatened by offshore oil exploration, invasive species and climate change. Falkland’s seaweeds are not well inventoried, yet this knowledge is critical for their Biodiversity Framework. The aim of the project is to provide tools to enable environmental management through habitat monitoring by filling a major gap in baseline knowledge of seaweed biodiversity, populating local information systems and providing training in species identification.

This will include at least one fieldtrip to the Falklands. There will also be opportunities for outreach initiatives. The project officer will also be responsible for the day to day management of the project.

For more information, please click here

Picture by Dr Sara Barrento


Swansea Uni study finds UV-blocking algae a sunscreen_in BBC News

UV protective algae could be used as a sustainable alternative to sunscreen, research at Swansea University has discovered.
There are hopes microalgae, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, could replace synthetic sunscreens.
The natural products, found in the sea, have a high absorbance of damaging sun rays.
Dr Carole Llewellyn, who has led the research, said algae sunscreen would be better for the environment.
“What we found is that algae have their own process of protecting themselves against the damaging ultra-violet rays,” said Dr Llewellyn, an associate professor in applied aquatic bioscience.
“We’re really interested in finding out how they do this and applying it to products we want to use.
“There’s increasing evidence that some of the synthetic sunscreens are quite harmful to the environment when they wash off in the sea.
“Many sunscreens are produced from petroleum sources and the industry is looking for something more sustainable.”

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