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CessCon Decom has teamed up with researchers at Abertay University to explore how marine growth can be recycled and reused.

Algae, seaweed, mussels, anemones, and hard and soft coral can be found at different depths. Depending on environmental conditions in the water.

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One of the aims of the project is to gain a better understanding of the matter that is typically found. Including the composition of fatty acids and proteins which could be turned into feed ingredients for other sectors.

Oil and gas wellhead platform, Driving under water shooting in low light, productiontubing casing and platform structure with marine growth and rust - Frame Creates
Oil and gas wellhead platform, Driving under water shooting in low light, productiontubing casing and platform structure with marine growth and rust – Frame Creates

In line with forecasts from Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) the feasibility study, which is supported by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), could result in up to 40,000 tonnes of marine growth. All this is found on platform jackets being recycled over the next decade.

“To support the supply chains of other sectors”

Karen Seath, environment and regulatory affairs director at CessCon, said: “As the North Sea oil and gas sector matures, the decommissioning sector has an incredibly important role to play. In making sure that the parts of those installations which are no longer in use and are required to be brought to shore are disposed of safely and responsibly.”

“Our process is built around circular economy principles. We have set an ambitious target to reach the point where 100% of the decommissioned materials brought onshore are reused, reconditioned, refurbished, or recycled. At the moment, marine growth is typically sent to landfill or incinerated. But we recognize the opportunity to do more. Also, use this waste to support the supply chains of other sectors,” she added.

The study follows a 2018 collaboration between Abertay University and Scottish fishing net manufacturer W&J Knox Ltd. It saw waste material collected on nets turned into livestock feed.

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In addition, Boon-Seang Chu, lecturer in food science at Abertay University, said: “Our previous research has shown that the proteins and fatty acids, such as Omega-3, contained in aquaculture waste can become valuable feed ingredients. This study is about understanding the nutritional composition of the marine growth retrieved from decommissioned rigs. Whether onshore or offshore and the feasibility of recovering proteins and fatty acids from the waste materials. The results of this work will help advise follow-on steps of the project.”

Finally, Liz Fletcher, director of business engagement at IBioIC, ended: “The collaboration between CessCon and Abertay University is a great example of an initiative that could see the waste from one industry turned into a valuable resource for another. Marine biomass is one of many inputs that can be used by the biotechnology sector to produce a range of products and materials that will ultimately help Scotland to reach its net zero goals.”

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