A Carolina student startup plans to revolutionize seaweed farming in temperate waters, creating jobs, reducing plastic pollution and cleaning carbon from the atmosphere along the way.
Founded by Carolina undergraduate students Eliza Harrison, Lucy Best and Emily Kian, the Phyta initiative aims to cultivate macroalgae, or seaweed, to be used as a sustainable alternative to consumer products including livestock feed and plastic microbeads in hygiene products.
“Our team gauges seaweed as one of the most abundant and underutilized resources in the world,” said Harrison, a senior environmental health sciences major in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “We’re growing seaweed and harnessing its social, environmental and nutritional potential.”
The team members credit part of their success to the campus resources they have utilized throughout their journey.
“The Campus Y [CUBE] has been critical to helping us understand the entrepreneurial part of our enterprise,” said Harrison. “We are non-traditional entrepreneurs with little to no business background, so they have been a huge help.”
They describe their ongoing aspirations this way: “Changing the world, one seaweed farm at a time.”