Aquaculture for all

Affordable automated seaweed harvester launched

Technology & equipment Seaweed / Macroalgae Startups +2 more

A new device that's supposedly capable of harvesting 4.5 tonnes of rope-grown seaweed an hour and can be retrofitted onto workboats has just been launched by Macro Supplies.

The Macro AutoFarmer is being offered for £30,000, plus VAT, per unit

The machine is new to the market but could be a welcome addition to the West's fledgling seaweed sector if it lives up to its billing © Macro Supplies

Called the Macro AutoFarmer, the machine is designed to harvest at a rate of 4.5 wet tonnes per hour and, according to the startup, “is compatible with the vast majority of rope based farms (with rope diameters 15-70mm) and all rope-farmable species of seaweed”.

It is billed by Macro as being automatic, productivity-boosting and relatively affordable, at £30,000 (plus VAT) a unit. The device is powered by removable batteries and made from anti-corrosive, marine-grade 316L stainless steel, and comes with a 10 year guarantee.

"Its simple, reductive design enables huge cost savings during manufacturing, hence the relatively low price tag. As a completely new class of tool for farmers, Macro Supplies will provide an on-site installation and training service free-of-charge to help ensure that its being used safely and effectively,” said the company in a press release.

“Today is the day that the seaweed industry begins its shift from a small artisanal space, to a large, economically sustainable industry that can not only create more jobs, but also effectively scale-up climate-harmonised downstream products like bioplastics, textiles and anti-methane animal-feeds and help them reach price-parity,” said Reiss Jones, a Thiel Fellow and the founder of Macro Supplies.

“Farmers that have previously struggled with low labour productivity, especially in Europe, can now buy a machine that can be installed on their existing boat and can work with their existing infrastructure out of the box. What’s more, they can save costs through huge productivity gains - Macro AutoFarmer requires just two people to operate. In fact, farmers can see how much they could save using the calculator on our website.”

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