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H2020

INTERCOME Report Summary

Project ID: 733487

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INTERCOME (INTERnational COmmercialization of innovative products based on MicroalgaE)

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Microalgae are an inexhaustible source of proteins, lipids, pigments, or carbohydrates, among others. They find potential commercial applications in several sectors of economic activity. In addition, bearing in mind that microalgae are the most efficient natural CO2 capturing system, are very productive and do not compete with fertile lands, they have potential to simultaneously contribute to palliate the big crisis humankind is facing: environmental sustainability, energetic efficiency and food security. AlgaEnergy, a solid Spanish biotech based SME, did identify this potential. Since its establishment, it has served as a vehicle to consolidate the knowledge within the scientific field of microalgae in Spain – a recognized hub in the matter – which was dispersed across universities. Using it as a stepping stone, it has been investing in generating further R&D in order to scale-up the processes and develop ready to market products, so that the achievements in the lab phase reach also the society. Within this task, AlgaEnergy has recently been able to reach semi-industrial scale (TRL7) with the start of the first phase operations of its semi-industrial plan in South of Spain, which captures real flue gas emissions directly from the second biggest combined cycle plant in Europe, being a worldwide premier. Therefore, AlgaEnergy in ready to orientate its technology towards the commercialization of its already commercial viable products. INTERnational COmmercialization of innovative products based on MicroalgaE (INTERCOME – 2nd phase of the SME Instrument project ALGAEPRINT) is based on the commercial orientation that is needed to make AlgaEnergy financially autonomous, after millionaire resources and 8 years of efforts invested in applied R&D.
The object of the project is to validate the process in real environment developing AlgaEnergy’s production facilities from TRL7 to TRL9, overcoming the current barriers to the commercialization of its output, which are associated to the capacity to guarantee a stable supply with the current equipment installed. Basically, the project’s objective is turning a demonstration production plant into a commercial industrial facility, which is called to be the European Flagship of microalgae production facilities.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

WP1. Project Management:
a.Administrative issues: archiving of documents for cost justification, record of hours implemented by workforce within the frame of the project, reporting deliverables issued in time
b.Definition of mitigation measures of identified risks, update of risks log
c.Scheduling of meeting minutes in order to coordinate stakeholders to reassure the achievement of the project deadlines (tasks and deliverables)
d.Recruiting: strengthening of commercial department, administrative department, business development department, quality & compliance department and maintenance (still ongoing)
e.Communication eith the E.C.'s Project Officer
WP2. Design, Implementation, Start Up and Operation:
a.Equipment budgeting
b.Negotiation with equipment providers
c.Equipment delivery
d.Equipment acquisition: report on the equipment bought/installed referenced to its function within the project goals
e.Starting up and operation: detailed report of the whole process, including culture, harvesting and the required process to obtain the final products, for each strain
f.Maintenance and operation protocols
WP3. Certification, quality guarantees and trials:
a.Certifications: CAAE (Andalusian Committee of Organic Agriculture) obtained for AgriAlgae® product (previous to project start up); contact established with ECOCERT for certification of other end products and biomass; future implementation of HACCP through the implementation of GFSI ISO 22000 or BRC (ongoing); ISO 9001 obtained & 14001 certification scheduled for the second half of 2017.
b.Trials on AgriAlgae: IMIDRA (Rural Development Institute of Madrid) has already done trials in watermelons; University of Córdoba agricultural trials on olive trees; University of Wageningen; customer/distributors validation trials in different crops
c.Tests on AlgaeCare: enzimatic test on active ingredients (antiaging, anti-wrinkle, depigmenting) performed by InVitroTecnia; proliferation and cytotoxic tests yet to be performed
d.Tests on AlgaeFood: nutritional analysis, allergen analysis
e.Tests and trials on AlgaePiscis: University of Santiago de Compostela, University of Thessaly, customer/validation trials
WP4.Dissemination, Communication and Commercialization activities:
a.Project Website launched (www.intercome.eu)
b.Dissemination through coporative and AgriAlgae websites (www.algaenergy.es/en and www.agrialgae.com)
c.Dissemination Plan and Chronogram programmed
d.Dissemination through specific channels:
i.Trade fairs, technical conferences, congresses, exhibitions and networking events
ii.EU projects events
iii.Higher education events
iv.Social Media (twitter @INTERCOME_AE, and corporative accounts: Linked-in, twitter, facebook and Youtube)
v.Press releases
vi.Meetings with potential clients
e.Marketing and commercialization strategy:
i.AgriAlgae: internationalization focus, specialized media strategy and commercial documents delivered
ii.AlgaeCare: agreement with formulator (ongoing), commercialization strategy through large cosmetics and dermopharmacy companies, commercialization through own brand (pending)
iii.AlgaeFood: industrial clients (addition of raw biomass/extracts to food matrices), own brand through specialized portals
iv.AlgaePiscis: end users (important commercial barriers, looking for optimized strains)
f.Follow up of the exploitation plan:
i.New CRM program installed for Commercial Department
ii.Business Development Dept.: Internationalization, Asian markets demaning added value products, NPK fertilizer companies demanding higher added value products, HAPCC and REACH mandatory and ongoing processes, keep track of new EU directive regarding biostimulants.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

SME Impact:
-Turnover: end 2016 (121,330.01 eur), end 2017 (520,000 eur approx)
-Employees: signature of GA (mid 2016 13 employees), end 2016 (21 employees), end 2017 (33 employees)
Progress beyond state of art: results achieved so far
AgriAlgae:
-Certification as organic product
-Completion of product range focusing on each phenological stage of crops: rooting, sprouting, flowering,etc.
-Registration in foreign markets: Italy,UK,Kyrgizstan (accomplished). Ongoing process in: France,Japan,Germany,Portugal,China,U.S.,South Africa,Peru,Chile,Brazil
-Difficulties encountered: regulatory barriers in some countries, REACH registration.
-Further steps: internationalization focus
AlgaeCare:
-Agreement with formulation company with expertise in marine extracts
-Enzymatic trials performed
-Further steps: trials with different formulations, analysis of enzymatic and proliferation tests, B2C and B2B distribution schemes.
AlgaeFood:
-Industrial clients already ordering biomass/extracts
-HACPP/BRC-GFSI ISO22000 ongoing processes
-Further steps: complete certification standards implementation, select proper B2C distribution scheme for own brand
AlgaePiscis:
-Product functionality already validated
-Difficulties encountered: skepticism in aquaculture technicians, conservation improvements to be undertaken.
-Further steps: convervation trials, optimized strains to reduce skepticism, internationalization focus aiming France and Greece

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