Newsletter April 2019

Without trade unions, the rights that people take for granted could be lost

“Low levels of union organisation and weakened trade unions could result in the loss of some of the rights that many people nowadays take for granted. This could lead to increased economic and social differences and a higher level of conflict in Norwegian labour relations,” says Tekna union representative Helene Rangnes of Kongsberg Maritime Commercial Marine. We asked a number of Tekna’s union representatives for their opinions on what factors might threaten the Norwegian Model and what challenges they have to tackle in their everyday lives as union representatives. Read the answers given by Helene Rangnes of Kongsberg Maritime Commercial Marine, Elisabeth Ravndal Jacobsen of Multiconsult Norge AS, Halvor Røsbak Feragen of Oslo City Council and Trond Wiberg of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.

You should dig the ocean!

“The oceans are the heart and lungs of the planet. Not only that - everything is strange down there.” Marine biologist and Tekna member Pia Ve Dahlen has been obsessed with the sea since she was a small girl. As one of the founder members of Passion for Ocean she is fighting for clean and healthy seas.

Passion for Ocean is one of six collaboration partners that Tekna has teamed up with in a campaign to promote the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and education,” says Ane Hagtvedt, Advisor at Tekna with responsibility for this area. “Research has shown us that many young people are recruited to STEM subjects because they want to make a difference. Tekna wants to play a part in communicating the message that STEM subjects are closely connected to the sustainability goals defined for areas such as energy, climate and health is a message.” Tekna is involved in the development of a teaching resource in collaboration with Ung Entreprenørskap (part of the worldwide Junior Achievement organisation) and Passion for Ocean. The primary target of the campaign is upper secondary school pupils. “Furthermore, Tekna is planning to be present at the Passion for Ocean festivals that will take place in Oslo on 24 August, Bergen on 31 August and Trondheim on seven September,” says Ane Hagtvedt.

Pia Ve Dahlen started Passion for Ocean together with Rebekka de Leon a couple of years ago in the form of a 24-hour festival in Oslo. The two tireless campaigners recruited enthusiastic divers, surfers, kiters, canoeists, anglers, researchers, biologists, chefs and others to create activities and entertainment. The objective was to spread knowledge about and enthusiasm for the oceans and to explain to people why we should want to care for them.

Pia finds it odd that Norway is a world beater in some areas, for example cross-country skiing, but not when it comes to tackling climate challenges. “The most important goal now must be to save the animal life of the planet. There are so many wonderful things just off our coastline. Coral reefs, sponges, fluorescent jellyfish and nudibranchs with solar panels on their backs. Just think how much there is down there that could help us to find the answers to numerous medical problems. I’m intensely happy that Tekna is now focusing on and directing more activities towards biologist – and not just engineers,” says Pia Ve Dahlen.

Cultivating kelp to scrub CO2

“The kelp industry has reached more or less the same level of development as the Norwegian aquaculture industry had achieved in the 1970s,” says senior researcher and Tekna member Jorunn Skjermo of SINTEF Ocean AS. She is hoping that establishing a sustainable kelp industry will not take quite as long. Kelp can be used as a substitute for a wide range of fossil-based products and cultivated on a large scale could reduce some of Norway’s CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Sea tangle is used in products such as alginates, animal feed, fertiliser, in textile printing, in paint products and in medicines. Kelp cultivation is being viewed as a promising solution for large-scale sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere.

Jorunn Skjermo has for many years been part of the Macrosea project, which conducts research on ways in which we can cultivate kelp and potential areas of industrial use for kelp. Technology is now being developed that will allow cultivation to be conducted in a more cost-effective way.

Jorunn Skjermo will address this topic and issues relating to the climate benefits of kelp cultivation at the “Blue Carbon” conference that Tekna Aquaculture and Fish Health is organising in collaboration with Tekna Climate in Trondheim on 8 May.

“Norway pays large sums of money into the Rainforest Foundation. Perhaps a similar scheme could be created for the “blue rainforest” that kelp could become,” she says.

Macroalgae, especially sugar kelp, grow remarkably quickly. Large quantities of biomass are formed by means of the absorption of nutrients in the ocean and photosynthesis and this biomass sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere dissolved in seawater. A genuinely significant effect on the climate could be achieved if we cultivate kelp on a large scale, harvest it and then bury it.

“Further research is needed, however, on a range of issues. Where can space be allocated for kelp cultivation? At what depth can kelp be buried? Is it necessary to cover it and what effects could this potentially have on life around it? Automated technical solutions need to be developed for cultivating and harvesting the kelp and the facilities must be capable of withstanding major impacts in a demanding climate.”

The bioprocessing of kelp is also a promising area, but poses a range of challenges, according to Skjermo.

“Kelp is still in its early phases as a new raw material and as yet we do not have industrialised processes for producing profitable products cheaply.”

Modified date: Thursday, April 25, 2019