How do you make new material from seaweed, which can be used as an alternative for plastic? The design duo Klarenbeek and Dros began their project with this question and seaweed from the North Sea. In the exhibit ‘From weed to ware’ at Museum Kaap Skil, they present their research, method and results.

Objects, including the cup, printed from material extracted from seaweed (Eric Klarenbeek)

Environmentally friendly

Klarenbeek and Dros won the New Material Award in October 2018 with their five-year study of biopolymers from locally cultivated algae and seaweed. The seaweed bonds a lot of CO2 during growth and the end product is recyclable, compostable and circular. This makes the material an environmentally friendly alternative for non-degradable plastics produced from fossil raw materials.

Sea farming, the new farmers

Cultivating raw materials in sea is referred to as the new way to farm, or sea farming. Because the surface of farmland is limited and there are lots of opportunities for farmers at sea, Klarenbeek and Dros have investigated the possibilities for using cultivated seaweed. They want to stimulate and develop a new circular product chain.

Art meets science

For SEA, Science Encounters Art, Klarenbeek and Dros were inspired by the collection Underwater Archeology at Museum Kaap Skil. Via the Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research, they were able to use the first cultivated seaweed from the North Sea. In the exhibit ‘From weed to ware’, they present the resulting processes and materials.

Utensils from 3D printer

The wealth of various components in seaweed offer a range of opportunities. For example, for the production of bio-ethanol fuel and for applications in food for humans and animals, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. The duo Klarenbeek and Dros deal with utensils, because this guarantees a long lasting carbon bond and the objects serve as a form of CO2 storage. They make the utensils using a 3D printer, also displayed in the exhibit. When the artists are present, they will use the printer to demonstrate.

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