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Biorefineries for the valorisation of macroalgal residual biomass and legume processing by-products to obtain new protein value chains for high-value food and feed applications

Project description

Natural alternative source of proteins from algae

As protein demand for both human food and animal feeding increases, the EU requires 30 million t of imported soy each year. Thus, the EU becomes dependent on imported soy. The existing source of protein is becoming unsustainable from an economic and environmental point of view for Europe, resulting in concerns over the future of food security. As a consequence, there is a rising demand for low-cost natural alternative proteins. The EU-funded ALEHOOP project will demonstrate at pilot level sustainable macroalgae and legume-based biorefineries, aiming to extract dietary proteins as natural alternative proteins from algae-based and plant residual biomass for livestock feeding. The project intends to contribute to a reduction of the EU’s dependency on imported proteins and the increase of raw material security.


ALEHOOP provides the demonstration at pilot scale of both sustainable macroalgae and legume-based biorefineries for the recovery of low-cost dietary proteins from alga-based and plant residual biomass and their validation to meet market requirements of consumers and industry in the food and feed sectors. In these sectors, consumers are demanding affordable functional natural proteins from alternative sources and industry is demanding low-cost bio-based protein formulations with better performance and higher sustainability.
Current protein demand for the 7.3 billion inhabitants of the world is approximately 202 Mt. Due to the rise in meat consumption more proteins are therefore required for animal feeding. To satisfy the current protein demand, Europe imports over 30 Mt of soy from the Americas each year mainly for animal feeding, entailing 95% dependency of EU on imported soy. Current sources of proteins are becoming unsustainable from an economic and environmental perspective for Europe resulting in concerns for sustainability and food security and leading to search for new alternative proteins.
ALEHOOP addresses the obtaining of proteins from green macroalgal blooms, brown seaweed by-products from algae processors and legume processing by-products (peas, lupines, beans and lentils) as alternative protein sources for animal feeding (case of green seaweed) and food applications (case of brown seaweed and legume by-products), since they are low cost and under-exploited biomass that do not compete with traditional food crops for space and resources. This will reduce EU´s dependency on protein imports and contribute to our raw material security. The new proteins will be validated in foods for elderly, sporty and overweight people, vegetarians and healthy consumers as well as for animal feed creating cross-sectorial interconnection between these value chains and supporting the projected business plan.



Net EU contribution
€ 484 736,63
Calle canchal 8 local 3
28021 Madrid

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 238 750,87

Participants (16)