Swedish Algae Factory sparks interest from investors and judges

20 Apr 2020

Swedish Algae Factory received an investment from the Dutch sustainable aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark. The funding amount of the investment was undisclosed. This investment follows on the heels of the algae startup’s recent €500,000 award from the 2019 Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge.

Algae technology is beginning to turn the heads of those interested in sustainable agricultural solutions and Swedish Algae Factory fits right into that thesis statement. Founded in 2016, the company aims to offer a sustainable, circular business model where its algae cleans the wastewater and absorbs carbon dioxide expelled by recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) while producing nutrient-rich organic biomass that can, in turn, feed fish or be repurposed as fertilizer.

Swedish Algae Factory sparks interest from investors and judges
Image via Reiseuhu on Unsplash

Aquaculture is the fastest growing segment in animal protein production with The World Bank estimating that 62% of fish cultivated for food will come from aquaculture systems by 2030. Though these systems require less water to operate more efficiently, the discharge from these farms can be detrimental to the local environment. By employing algae as a filter, Swedish Algae Factory is able to convert this effluent water into a nutrient-dense product that can then be used to fuel the fish that are cultivated in these systems.

A byproduct of the company's algae filtration process is a nanoporous silica material called diatoms that have light-altering properties. Marketed under the name Algica, these microscopic algae particles can improve the efficiency of solar panels or be used as a natural substitute for ultraviolet light protection in personal care products.

This ability to produce a diversified range of goods attracted the attention of Aqua-Spark whose co-founder Mike Velings said in a statement, “By upcycling wastewater into high-value products for the solar and cosmetic industries, the brand is solving a major issue for land-based aquaculture and sustaining a separate, diversified business model.”

Algae’s multiple uses are no longer being overlooked. In a report from Fish 2.0, the market for this monocellular aquatic plant is predicted to reach $45 billion by 2023. Swedish Algae Factory is riding this wave with its Algica product, which was awarded €500,000 for its contribution to building a more sustainable planet. According to the company, when applied on solar panels and used to replace harmful and less efficient ingredients in personal care, Algica reduces CO2 emissions by 200 tons/kg per year.

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