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Alginor's Ocean Refining Total utilisation Application

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AORTA 2 (Alginor's Ocean Refining Total utilisation Application)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2020-02-29

Alginor, a Norwegian based SME, aims to develop and commercialise high-quality products from the seaweed Laminaria hyperborea (Lh) through a revolutionary technology – AORTA. There is a scarcity of high-quality seaweed products on today’s market, making it a customer pain point to be able to acquire enough products. State-of-the-art seaweed-industry only utilises about 15% of the harvested raw material and causes massive pollution in the process. Alginor’s increased resource efficiency, from 15% up towards 100%, will greatly increase the number of products for sale and eradicate emissions.

Alginor’s 100% utilisation strategy creates a product portfolio of 12 products, well above state-of-the-art’s average of 1-2 products. Our products will be of equal or higher quality than existing products, and letters of intent have already been signed with several big customers. In Norway there is an increasing concern for the environmental impact caused by emissions from the seaweed-industry which has led to some limitations on emissions. Alginor’s new technology will have none of these emissions and therefore no limitations on production.

Europe has the largest standing biomass of Lh of approximately 100 million tonnes. State-of-the-art only harvests around 150,000 tonnes of Lh due to the emission regulations, while there is a standing biomass of minimum 1.5 million tonnes open for harvesting each year; i.e. Alginor will be able to massively increase production. The expected impact for the targeted users will be a monumental increase in the availability of pure and high-quality seaweed-products without toxic chemicals. Alginor will create a greener and more profitable value chain that will disrupt Europe’s seaweed industry and potentially cause stricter regulations.
The project is going according to plan after receival of a 6 month extension. Extension due to a long dialogue with the potential piloting facilities.

The hypomar methode has produced a separation knife, a transportation system which both are effective and working as intended. These combined has led to a proof of concept of the hypomar method. The hypomar method will be further on developed in a 2nd project which Alginor ASA has running. By combining the findings from the 2 deliverables, verifying the 3rd we are able to harvest large amounts of seaweed (tonnes a day). The metodology of the unique Hypomar harvesting method is forming the basis for the further processing of the raw material into end-products.

The procesesses has been constantly evolving, changes to the initial plan has been made which deviates slightly from the plan. The initial products from the minimum viable product portfolio. This change is due to the accesibility of the ingredients and in which order they occur. This meaning that the MVP has gone from polyphenols, alginate, fucoidan, cellulose, laminaran and mannitol to Alginate, Fucoidan, Cellulose, Borea powder and bark powder, which can be extraxted as a naturally occuring cascade. The steps for extracting these products has been defined, equipment is beeing investigated and the processes tested at Alginor ASA in-house laboratory. The final verification of the production processes will happen at external piloting facilities.

The piloting of the MVP has been ongoing for quite a while, as the work load on the desired pilot facility has been unusually high, which has led to a delay in the overall project progression. An extension on the action has been granted, and the project is on tracks now. Alginor ASA is about to start the first pilot run at Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant during the early days of the reporting period. The product that will be focused on during the first run is Alginate and Cellulose, after that the production of fucoidan, borea powder and bark powder will happen at given facilities. Alginor ASA expects that the piloting of the MVP will be finalised during the end of 2019, early 2020 before we start piloting of the full product portfolio.

The market has been investigated and mapped out, finding customer that is of high importance for the innovation. We do have customers for all of the products produced during our piloting of the MVP, financial plans are thourougly worked through and a plan for how to commercialise the products is well established and is a live document constantly changing as the market is. There is a natural occuring correlation between the financial model (INTEGRA) and the commercialisation plan.

Alginor ASA is a responsible business considering and adressing all the relevant ethical concerns that may arise from the action. At the time we do not forsee any un-ethical concerns for the action implemented.
The expected main results until the end of the project is to have a complete and verified technology for harvesting and processing of seaweed. The harvesting technology opens for a new, innovative and environmentally friendly way of harvesting seaweeds, with no damage to the seabed or surrounding marine environment. The AORTA-technology will also lead to products with qualities superior to existing options.

Alginor will show that seaweed harvesting can be done in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way, which may lead to changes in the industry. Demonstrating that seaweed harvesting can be done without dredging the seabed may lead to restrictions in the current business, but it may also create new opportunities where seaweed harvesting has received a bad reputation.

Alginor will also harvest and process seaweeds without chemicals with long toxicity such as formalin, which will greatly improve environmental impact and product quality.
Most of today’s seaweed industry is located in Asia, and Alginor will help to create knowledge, jobs and value creation in Europe. This project will make Europe a leader within high-quality seaweed ingredients.
Laminaria hyperborea