Cultivating seaweeds at large scales shows promising environmental benefits, from improved water quality to biofuel and food production. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Hood Canal Mariculture, Inc. are conducting a 2-year, integrated numerical modeling and field monitoring study to quantify the rate and effectiveness of nitrogen bioextraction by a sugar kelp farm in Hood Canal, WA. This research effort uses a coupled hydrodynamic-macroalgal growth model to simulate kelp growth, nitrogen uptake, and the physical interaction between kelp and ambient flows at varying spatial resolutions up to a few meters. Intensive field monitoring has been conducted through the combination of in situ data sensors and discrete water and biomass samples, which measure key parameters including nitrogen species, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, kelp biomass, and nitrogen content in kelp. The model is being validated against field measurements and used to calculate nitrogen extraction by the kelp farm in time and space. The findings and the approach will provide useful information to the ARPA-E MARINER Program, which seeks to develop the tools to enable the United States to become a global leader in the production of marine biofuel.
PI: Taiping Wang; Taiping.Wang@pnnl.gov
Hood Canal Mariculture