AlgaEnergy is a biotech company exclusively focused on micro-algae, which consolidates in one vehicle almost 5 decades of research in this field of science. It has spent its first 8 years exclusively doing research, scaling up culturing technologies (photobioreactors) and developing microalgae-based solutions for different sectors.
The company is managed by a team of reputed entrepreneurs and scientists, and backed by two minor shareholders of reference that are amongst the “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations”, as announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos (IBERDROLA from Spain and YOKOGAWA from Japan). It is a multi-awarded company, with an innovations network comprised by >150 research partners across the world. Its Strategic Plan pays special attention to the initiatives in those areas in which the development of the microalgae biological processes can further contribute to alleviate the three crisis threatening humankind’s existence: food security, energetic efficiency and the environmental sustainability.
Microalgae are inexhaustible, very productive and capture CO2 very intensively. They don’t compete with other raw materials, since they don’t need fertile lands. Their biochemical composition is enormously interesting as it contains the highest proportion of proteins known, fatty acids (omega-3), antioxidants, polysaccharides and vitamins, among others. This composition provides great versatility to developed applications in many sectors.
AlgaEnergy is currently marketing products or extracts targeting the sectors of agriculture, food, aquaculture, cosmetics, feed and others. In the near future, AlgaEnergy will have developed new products for the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors, whilst at the same time, it is intensifying its R&D across the whole value chain towards the cost reduction, under profitability and sustainability criteria, of fourth generation biofuels.
Having reached the industrial scale in 2014, the company started the commercialization of its first products in late 2015. Although it had developed innovative products for sectors such as aquaculture, food and cosmetics, due to resources limitation and after an in-depth analysis of the opportunities, it prioritized the field of agriculture. Having been the year 2016 the introduction year, in which the company carried out over 500 externalized field trials to demonstrate the efficiency of its microalgae based agricultural biostimulants, the year 2017 is demonstrating that all its efforts have been worth.
During 2017, the company has been able to finally carry out the transition from lab to the market, experiencing a considerable growth in sales, with a customer repetition ratio of over 90%, as well as reaching its first agreements with multinational companies to distribute its products as of 2018.
In the beginning of 2019, it hired the CEO of the competence and started an aggressive internationalization plan, establishing subsidiaries in Japan, Italy, India and the U.S., being Mexico and Australia the next countries in to the company will expand. In addition, its business is not only circular in sustainable terms but also in strategic ones, since the revenues generated by the successful products marketed in some sectors, will provide resources to develop further other microalgae derived applications in sectors still needing an R&D investment to reach the market.
AlgaEnergy’s technology takes advantage of the emissions generated in other industrial processes. The CO2 is redirected directly into microalgal cultures, avoiding its release into the atmosphere. Energy consumption is optimized, profiting from the resources the sun provides (photosynthesis).
Water is recycled and recirculated, minimizing its loss substantially. Land use is very efficient, as one hectare of non-agricultural land with a microalgae culturing plant is able to capture 200 tons of CO2 in a year, which is equivalent to 30 ha of fertile land with 26,000 trees. There are two ways of biological sinks mitigating CO2: forests/plants and the ocean.
However, the ocean –the main carbon sink-, is saturated and beginning to acidify, while the efficiency of forests is smaller. One alternative to this problem is the intensive cultivation of microalgae, the most efficient CO2 biofixers on Earth, which allow to obtain an environmental and economic benefit at the same time.
Microalgae are inexhaustible, very productive and capture CO2 very intensively. They don’t compete with other raw materials, since they don’t need fertile lands. Their biochemical composition is enormously interesting as it contains the highest proportion of proteins known, fatty acids (omega-3), antioxidants, polysaccharides and vitamins, among others.
This composition provides great versatility to developed applications in many sectors. In the field of agriculture, which was prioritized by AlgaEnergy, the externalized field trails have demonstrated that its products, applied in minute quantities, increase yields of the crops in double digits, optimize quality traits of the fruits and make the crops more resistant when exposed to stress, providing a considerable economic benefit to the farmers.
Nevertheless, the abovementioned advantages of microalgae, make it a unique raw material to develop products in many sectors, for which the EC has selected AlgaEnergy as one of the companies with the highest growth potential in Europe.
José María de Gregorio Muñiz
What sector is the business involved in
Energy , Agriculture , Health Care / Life sciences , Circular
List of countries the product is present outside the base country
List of regions the company could be targeting
- Northern Africa
- Middle East
- Latin America
Number of employees
Accessing market opportunity, Access and introductions to the right people, Setting up in the UK, Bespoke market research, Government support, Tailored assistance for entrepreneurs, Research & Development , Capital investment, Sector specialists