The project concerned a new extraction process for gelling agent phycocolloïde; for example, agar, by a continuous method based on processing fished or collected seaweed. The project consisted of the transition from the pre-industrial pilot stage to the industrial stage on a pilot site. This process was also to be made available for other phycocolloïdes like carraghenanes and others.
A French company, well known in the market of process engineering and material manufacture for food, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and cosmetic industries, had developed a new technique for extracting agar from seaweed using a closed circuit system using heat exchangers rather than autoclaves. It was thought that this would lead to benefits in terms of reduced energy consumption, higher product quality, environmental benefits and energy savings.
The project had an extensive definition phase which seemed to indicate that the new process for extracting agar from seaweed would have significant benefits including energy savings, better product quality and environmental benefits as well as benefits to the producer in terms of more streamlined operations.