SINTEF is Scandinavia’s largest independent research organisation. The research institute is strongly involved in the development of European aquaculture. Bridge-building between biological and engineering sciences is important for the institute to serve a more complex, advanced, future aquaculture industry with knowledge. It develops, organises and operates the large-scale infrastructure specialised for serving RTDI on technology used in sea based aquaculture (within a licence of production of 2340 t salmon and a seaweed production site).

SINTEF offers two unique installations: 1) ACE Facility for large scale testing of solutions for seabased aquaculture: 4 industrial-scale salmon farm sites with up to 15 circular net pens (157m in circumference and 30m deep) culturing Atlantic salmon, equipped with a range of environmental sensors; and 2) Norwegian Seaweed Technology Center (NSTC) composed of NSTC-Sealab (laboratory/hatchery for macroalgae cultivation) and NSTC-Seafarm (two field sites at the coast). The center has licence for cultivating 7 different macroalgae species.

SINTEF-NSTC (Norwegian Seaweed Technology Center)

Infrastructure: SINTEF-NSTC (Norwegian Seaweed Technology Center)

Location: Laboratory in Trondheim and two farm sites along the Norwegian coast close to Trondheim, NORWAY

Web site address:

Contact: Silje Forbord (


Norwegian Seaweed Technology Center (NSTC) is a knowledge platform for technology development within industrial cultivation, harvesting, processing and application of seaweed in Norway. The center has licence for cultivating 7 different macroalgae species; Saccharina latissima, Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Palmaria palmata, Porphyra sp., Chondrus crispus and Ulva lactuca. NSTC is composed of NSTC-Sealab and NSTC-Seafarm.

NSTC-Sealab is a laboratory for macroalgae cultivation in Trondheim, comprising: 1) Climate room with light control for vegetative cultivation or sorus induction, 2) Climate cabinet used for gametophyte cultivation, 3) Seedling’s cultivation rigs in climate rooms (see picture below) with light control and equipment for seeding of substrates and mechanical transfer of seeded twine to carrier ropes. The laboratory is supplied with filtered, UV-treated 8-12°C seawater from a 70m depth intake from the Trondheimsfjord providing nutrient rich conditions year-round.

The NSTC-Sealab is well equipped for cultivation trials with different stages of the life cycles of the licensed species, which have been selected because of a commercial interest. The lab is well suited for research on seaweed hatchery challenges and vegetative cultivation of red and green species. The research environment has a strong focus on upscaling of the methods developed in this infrastructure and is continuously working to improve and possibly automatise different operations. 

NSTC-Seafarm consists of two field sites at the coast, one at the island Hitra characterised by being partly sheltered against waves but with strong currents, and one site for cultivation of macroalgae integrated with the two 5000t salmon farms at SINTEF ACE locations at Frøya and characterised by an exposed/semiexposed location in open sea with strong water currents. The latter allows for cultivation of macroalgae close to the salmon farm to exploit its nutrient rich effluents (integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA), see picture below). The sites have mooring suitable for fastening of longlines and for seeded cultivation substrates such as seeded droppers, continuous lines, nets or sheets. The water quality is good for cultivation of kelp and red algae regarding nutrients, light and temperature.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

Assistance will be offered to users by experienced scientists and technicians for experimental design of macroalgae cultivation trials. Technical support for daily experimental work and technical help for samplings will be provided to the users, including logistic support (vessel) for field work. Follow-up of the experiments between start-up and termination, i.e. when the users not are present, will be done if required.

Modality of access

The duration of work is flexible, depending on the project requirements. Use of the NSTC-Seafarm requires production of seedlings in the NSTC-Sealab. At NSTC-Sealab a typical trial will run for 4-6 weeks where the user stays the first and last week. The field sites in NSTC-Seafarm are suited for cultivation trials that can last for several weeks or months, and in such case, it is anticipated that the user will be physically present at least two times: at start-up and during running or termination of the trial.

Unit of access

The unit of access is defined as one week, equalling the occupation of the infrastructure for 5 days, each of 7.5 hours for up to 2 persons.


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