The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland flanked by (from left) Hans Kleivdal (Uni Research), Bjørn-Erik Haugan (TCM), Roy Vardheim (TCM), Alfred Brown (ION engineering) and Dag Rune Olsen (UiB Director)
Around 90 people attended the opening of the pilot plant for microalgae production based on CO2 captured from Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM). The long-term goal is full-scale production of omega 3-rich microalgae for use in fish feed
- I commend the initiators of this national algae pilot for connecting researchers and industry in this exciting collaboration project, said Minister Monica Mæland.
- Marine algaes are like a marine rainforest. The pilot facility gives us a platform for developing more knowledge of the entire value chain, from the selection of the right kind of microalgae until production of omega-3s, says Hans Kleivdal, Research Director at Uni Research and associate professor at the University of Bergen. He has the academic responsibility for the project.
TCM's Managing Director Roy Vardheim talked about how the utilization of captured CO2 is given increased attention, and said it is exciting to see that some of the CO2 captured at Mongstad can be utilized in algae production.
- TCM is a world leader in its field, and we are about to create a competence cluster for CO2 use here at Mongstad, he said at the opening.
To resolve the shortage of Omega-3
The idea behind algae pilot is to utilize photosynthesis, the combination of nutrients, water, CO2 and sunlight to produce omega-3-rich microalgae, which can become a new source of omega-3 in fish feed.
The source of omega-3 in fish farming industry has for many years been fish oil, but the global shortage of this oil requires alternative sources to be developed. Establishing a pilot for algae production is a result of an ongoing collaboration between the communities of research and aquaculture.
Previously algaes have been produced at laboratory facility at the Department of Biology at the University of Bergen. With the algae pilot plant at Mongstad, algae production gets tested on a larger scale. This could be a step towards a full scale production of microalgae.
Operation of the plant will take place in cooperation with the company CO2Bio, which is owned by Marine Harvest, Leroy Seafood, EWOS, Salmon Group, Grieg Seafood, and Uni Research Bergen, BTO and Nordhordland trade association.
The total budget is around NOK18 million. University of Bergen contributes with NOK6 million, while NOK6 million is allocated from the state budget. In addition, the aquaculture industry contributes with NOK3 million, Hordaland County with NOK2 million and regional municipalities with NOK1 million.
The laboratory facility at UiB has had a volume of around 250 liters. In the first phase at the new plant at Mongstad the facility has a capacity of a total volume about 4000 liters. The pilot plant consists of two buildings totaling about 350 square meters, a greenhouse with equipment for the production of biomass and an operations building with laboratories and other necessary processing equipment.