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VI.c Marine algae costs

This is the cost of growing/producing macro algae (aka Seaweed) for harvesting as an energy crop.

See Macro Algae cost data for the current range of cost assumptions.

Micro algae is treated as part of V.b Bioenergy imports Costs.


Macro algae is modelled on sheet VI.c of the excel model.

The technical assumptions are documented on pages 158 to 160 of the original 2050 Pathways Analysis Report. They were not changed as part of the Government's response to the Call for Evidence. The critical assumptions are that:

  • Macro algae could be cultivated over 0, 563, 1125 and 5860 km2 at levels 1, 2, 3 & 4 respectively.
  • Yield is expected to increase to 20 dry tonnes / hectare by 2025.
  • The energy content of the algae is assumed to be 3.9 TWh/M tonnes(dry).

TODO: Convert the above to a more userfriendly and consistent set of units.


The user chooses the area of sea farmed, the tonnage of algae from the area is then calculated. This tonnage is multiplied by a cost per tonne of algae.

Methodology issues and uncertainty

  • There are very few cost estimates, and almost none that apply to the UK
  • Ideally, this sector would be modelled as a combination of capital and operating costs.


  • Are you aware of any other published data sources we should consider?