One of the more interesting things I have seen at the COP15 is an exhibit of a patented process for the production of pulp and paper made from Red Algae (l. Gracilaria and l. Gelidium elegans) developed by a company named Pegasus Research Inc.
Pegasus is a spin-out venture of the Forest Products Dept at Chungnam National University in Korea. They claim that red algae pulp can be produced with less energy than tree based pulp and that it does not require the removal of the lignin associated with wood pulp.
At this stage the process is still pre-commercial but the developers have partnered with consumer electronics giant Samsung to provide red algae pulp produced on a 500 ha offshore cultivation farm in Indonesia to the world’s first ever red algae pulp production plant located in Korea.
As the world grapples with how it will address the challenge of climate change, it must balance the need to reduce deforestation with the need for essential materials like paper. The company is hoping that world leaders reaching agreement on REDD at COP15 in Copenhagen will expand the market opportunities for their approach to producing paper and fuel from red algae. They plan to conduct a full lifecycle analysis of the process once the pilot plant is operational.