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Yanik Nyberg (Seawater Solutions)

Yanik Nyberg won a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in June 2019 for his business, Seawater Solutions.
Agriculture is among the biggest contributors to climate change, as well as one of its victims1. Looking out of the window of an aeroplane nowadays, all there is to see is farmland where forests once stood. In the UK alone, farmland makes up over 70 percent of all land2, with forests covering a mere 10 percent3, as virtually all native woodlands have been decimated by intensive agriculture in the UK. Last year, the UN issued a global warning that we have only 12 years left to avoid an irreversible climate change catastrophe4: but it takes most trees 12 years to mature. Forests have always been a good climate regulator – rainforests even more so – but wetlands can take in an astounding 40 times more carbon than rainforests5, making them a highly underutilised resource.
 
Founded in 2017 by Yanik Nyberg, Glasgow-based Seawater Solutions is an agri-environmental company that introduces wetland ecosystems onto coastal farms for climate resilience and wildlife promotion. The enterprise was inspired by a project in Eritrea that created an artificial oasis by growing samphire, a crop which can take in 15 times as much carbon as regular crops. In 2018, the company’s global team of civil and environmental engineers and marine biologists established the first farm in the United Kingdom that uses seawater to grow sea-vegetables and crops such as natural samphire – which can be used as salt-substitutes, oils for cosmetics and cooking – as well as and crops for biofuel. 
 
Globally, Seawater Solutions is the only organisation that focuses on redeveloping coastal farmland for wetland restoration as well as agricultural production – this could be the key to tackling climate change, mitigating the effects of rising sea-levels, erosion, pollution, and carbon emissions. Seawater Solutions’ farms will soon be able to tackle coastal erosion and threats of flooding by strengthening soils and creating a natural buffer between the sea and coastal communities. This buffer also acts as a bio-filter, taking in industrial and agricultural pollutants flowing down rivers and into the sea, purifying water in the process.
 
The start-up is currently running two projects in Scotland and Vietnam and holds a unique position as the only seawater farmer in both countries. This means that it is very well-positioned to use its low-capital cost solutions to introduce new and high-value produce to target European markets that are hungry for fresh, organic and environmentally-promoting products. Seawater Solutions is already in contact with over 50 businesses in their main customer base within the central belt of Scotland, and in Vietnam, the company is looking to expand its ‘Seawater-Aquaculture Farms Vietnam’ project to accelerate the pilot systems on its aquaculture farm for the production of saline plant derived oils for cosmetics and bio-fuels. “Our truly revolutionary systems have the opportunity to change agriculture, energy, aquaculture, and environmental engineering for years to come, and this alone is a key driving force in our successes to date and our vision for the future”, says Yanik.
 
Seawater Solutions was introduced to the Shell LiveWIRE programme by a business mentor. Yanik anticipates that the prestigious award will dramatically improve its legitimacy as a business. ‘Winning this award will significantly increase [our] exposure globally and will certainly draw in support for our various causes’, said Yanik. “I’m certain that the endorsement and support from Shell will most certainly attract individuals with industry experience who will offer support for our next ventures.”
 
You can follow Seawater Solutions on Twitter and Facebook.

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