Free shipping on orders over £30

Barti Rum Blue Carbon Project

Jonathan Williams, founder of Barti Rum, is embarking on a challenge, to learn about and action the use of seaweed as a carbon capturing tool. Meaning that one day Barti Rum, and many other business’ and individuals will be able to offset their carbon through seaweed in the same way that some business’ currently do by planting trees.

If successful the project has the capability to be vastly more scaleable than planting trees on land, and could be a colossal step forward in reducing the volume of carbon in our atmosphere.

The Blue Carbon Story So Far…

Barti & The Big Blue | From the first idea to scientific research.

Blue Carbon Timeline

Great adventures are sparked by stories told, embraced with an open heart, and dived into full tilt. This is definitely one of those.

Prologue | 2010 - 2020

A little background on Jonathon

Jonathan Williams started Café Môr in 2010 as a mobile catering business celebrating the wonderful produce of the Pembrokeshire coastline: seafood, seaweeds and wild seashore plants. In 2012, Café Môr became enveloped in a wider venture; The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, which began developing a range of sea foraged food products, from Welshman’s Caviar (dried laver flakes) to seaweed Pesto. In more recent years, Jonathan founded a spiced rum brand, Barti Rum, which again uses a seaweed infusion to enhance and smooth the flavour of the spirit.

Chapter 1 | Early 2020

How The Idea Began

Jonathan describes “One morning at the beach collecting seaweed, a local lobster fisherman, Danny, (DASH Shellfish), said he had seaweed growing on his equipment and regularly hired someone to cut it off. I was intrigued, this fisherman’s unwanted seaweed was regularly self seeding on submerged gear. I wondered if the abundant seaweed considered a nuisance could be of some benefit."

"I shared my ideas and together we left some ‘ghost’ (pretend) pots out for six months to discover more. Each rig amassed 10kg of various seaweed species, a few kilos of mussels, and spider crabs. I was amazed!"


Discovering Rope Growth

"After a lot of research and speaking to experts on the subject of 'Blue Carbon' I became fixated with the concept of providing extra surface area for growth to occur below the surface of the sea, meaning quite simply, it would automatically happen. The more surface area provided in the form of ropes, the more seaweed will grow and the more carbon absorbed. The positive environmental impact this could have is indescribable.”

Read the full Post

Chapter 2 | Early 2022

Project Push Forward (& Rant)

I've decided to open a 400yr old pub. The Old Point House in Pembrokeshire. In the post covid, post Brexit, mid energy crisis bedlam of 2022.

I've also taken on various complex grant applications to seriously unravel the science behind Seaweed Carbon Offsetting, and got myself tangled up in the immensely complex world of licensing a tiny few metres of sea to do seaweed growth research. Have I lost the plot?

Read The Article

Chapter 3 | Mid 2022

Project Funding Granted

MEECE allocated us a project fund to firstly research if anything has been done like this before in the world via Swansea University, it turned out it hasn’t. Which is both lovely, “hey I’m the first”, but equally annoying as we get to make all of the mistakes which means more money.

Secondly, the project funded the official scientific test to see what type of rope attracts the most life and works best at harbouring that life in the sea long term...

Discover more

Chapter 4 | Late 2022

We Get A Test Site!

We have a test site people! An official site, where every stake holder in the world is happy for us to use the area for this project to (potentially one day) save the world. Every risk assessment, cost assessment and impact assessment has been well and truly ticked off the list.

It took 2 years to get there, but we got there! And apparently this happened faster than usual...

Read On

Chapter 5 | Dec 2022

Going Pirate Style

9/12/22 Secret Sea Garden Blog (That’s right, a blog inside a blog, includes further ranting.)

The “official” site would cost more than £20,000, without the support of SMART Wales and MEECE the project simply would not happen. For a small business running a struggling pub & a growing Spiced Rum it's ludicrous to even consider it. But I had another idea, “Shellfish lines”...

Read The Master Plan!

Chapter 6 | Feb 2023

First Official Ropes Go In

Finally, after more meetings than you can shake seaweed at, we board a boat to drop several of the four rope types into the sea. They'll live there a year, checked and studied monthly by Marine biologist Jon Moore. Jon’s findings will help us decide the next course of action.

  1. Natural fibre rope vs standard. Which has the best longevity and best surface for attracting life?
  2. How many species will self seed on the ropes?
  3. How much plant matter will grow & how will it vary?

Chapter 7 | Aug 2023

Test Site Review

Jon checks the ropes once a month come rain or shine. If you're not in West Wales, that summer is mostly rain (like more than normal). Some exciting news, every single rope has grown copious amounts of life. Seaweed, shellfish, each one is it’s own magnificent habitat.

More news, only the plastic & hemp ropes remain in a viable state to continue. This outcome is useful, ruling out Jute & Sisal. In January we'll see how natural hemp & plastic survive being submerged a full year, and which rope will be best to take to the next research phase. Jon is reviewing the breadth of life discovered. Time to wait...