In January 2017, the Research Council of Norway (Norges Forskningsråd) committed Alginor to a 3-year development project that will cost NOK 9 million, where 50% of the capital is given as a grant. However, in combination with the SkatteFUNN arrangement, the grant will cover 70% of the capital.
The project represents another important breakthrough for the company, as the entire development plan for the next phase is securely financed, which will lead to an appealing product portfolio based on macroalgae. The company is strengthening its position as a commercial and industrial participant in dialogues towards strategic research projects within the same field, directed by the public, both in and outside of Norway.
Henriette Wangen is the project leader (project number 269255), and the project received NOK 4.5 million fom MARINFORSK: Marine ressurser og miljø. MARINFORSK’s purpose is to increase knowledge about marine ecosystems and the consequences of human-made influences. With knowledge at the forefront, the program is meant to strengthen the foundation for good and efficient management processes, as well as create sustainable values based on marine resources.
With the AORTA technology Alginor will establish the first biorefinery in Norway focused on total utilisation (100% use of the biomass’ dry weight), and resource efficient processing of bio marine raw materials for production of unique and well-defined products. These products will primarily be marketed as nutrients and feed.
The goal is to develop a technology that allows for total utilisation and high-quality products, with no emission of raw materials, as the remaining materials are possibly used for bioenergy in the company’s own production. Through separation, isolation and total utilisation a higher value creation with lower production costs is achieved, which makes utilisation of the raw materials commercially possible.
Some important challenges are
- Pre-treatment of raw materials to maintain high-quality during storing and year-round production that is adapted to season variations.
- Separation and handling of integral components without damaging the remaining products, based on innovative, green technology without the use of toxic additives.
- A production process that isolates, extracts and cleans the products for total utilisation.
Alginor’s research provides a foundation for knowledge regarding new uses of raw materials in the blue sector, with an environmentally beneficial production. The research also benefits the development of new products that will promote fish health and contribute towards the growing global need in the fish-farming and nutrition industries. The project is to be completed in close cooperation with some of Europe’s leading research institutions (SINTEF, Nofima, and the Danish Technological Insitute).