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Pilot Plant to Turn CO2 into Algae for the Aquaculture Industry

18 July 2014

NORWAY - The Norwegian Parliament has granted $1 million of funding to a pilot plant which will use CO2 captured at CO2 Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM) to produce algae for the fish farming industry.

Seafood is Norway’s second largest export, after oil & gas: in 2013 the value of Norwegian seafood exports stood at $10.2 billion, with 95 per cent of all fishing produce shipped to 150 different countries. Demand for farmed fish is growing, but the aquaculture industry is facing a shortage of omega-3; the fatty acids used in fish feed.

At current rates available omega-3 will reduced in the coming years. To ensure the continued growth of Norwegian aquaculture, the industry is seeking alternative, sustainable sources of omega-3 that can be used in fish feed.

The aim of the pilot is to establish a manufacturing facility that can produce omega-3 and other high-value products from algal biomass, using pure CO2 captured at TCM and residual heat from the TCM plant. Marine algae is the foundation of all omega-3 in the ocean, and the project will demonstrate that it can be effectively produced on land by photosynthesis using pure CO2 from TCM and sunlight.

Frank Ellingsen, Managing Director, TCM, said: “Carbon is becoming increasingly constrained in the global economy, whilst food demand from farmed fish is rising. It seems to be a smart solution to combine the two issues; using CO2, the by-product of the oil & gas sector, as a raw material for aquaculture. This project demonstrates the ongoing importance of TCM: as well as operating at the forefront of CO2 capture technology, we also play a role in the utilisation of CO2 for innovative new “circular economy” business models.

The test production of omega-3 rich raw material for fish feed from algae will start at Mongstad as early as next year, providing a sustainable solution to an environmental problem and a proactive alternative to the passive deposition of CO2.

Svein M Nordvik, Managing Director, CO2BIO, said: “Undertaking advanced marine microalgae production on the doorstep of the world's largest single market for feed is important for long-term growth of the Norwegian aquaculture industry and for enhanced sustainability of marine raw materials. It’s inspiring to think that this project could create a virtuous circle; by addressing the growth in global population, as well as putting carbon emissions to good use.”

Construction of the 300-square-metre algae production test facility is scheduled for completion within an allocated space at Mongstad in early 2015. Once operational, a five-year research programme will be undertaken with a view to establishing a commercial plant for the production of marine algae once testing is complete.

CO2Bio is an innovation network of stakeholders from industry and research communities. The University of Bergen will be the owner of algae pilot, together with Uni Research and will play a very important role as the driving force in the establishment and coordination of the operation of the plant. CO2Bio will be responsible for operations.

Co-owners of CO2Bio include:

• Salmon Group
• Grieg Seafood

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