Norway is a major actor in the production of purified omega-3 oils for the world food market. More than 40 % of the purified omega-3 oils worldwide for use in food and food supplements are produced in Norway at a market value of 1.3 billion NOK per year. In addition Pronova Biopharma, Sandefjord, produces Omacore, a omega-3 drug, at revenue of 1.3 billion NOK per year, up 25% last year.
Today the different companies have their own small research group often doing parallel research on basic problems. By c oncentrating the competence in an independent research group above the critical size, research of top international quality will be assured.
There exist no independent research site in Norway for the Norwegian omega-3 to perform research on purificatio n and modification on fish oils for human consumption. The research structure applied for will be a basis for an independent Norwegian research on an area where Norwegian industry has, and still wish to have, a leading position in the world. The research will be divided between basic research together with NTNU and applied research together with the omega-3 industry, ensuring high quality, originality and direct impact on industrial production.
This is an expansion of existing research and pilot facilitie s for the Marine Biochemical Engineering, already existing in Trondheim. As this infrastructure is based on biochemical and chemical engine¬ering it is linked to the Chemical Engineering department at NTNU, SINTEF Process group and SINTEF Biotechnology. T he proposed research facility has several focuses: Solve industrial problems from the fish-oil industry and omega-3 industry, develop new techniques for refining and transformation, training people for the oil industry and educating students both on maste r and PhD level. As this infrastructure is based on basic technological disciplines, as chemical engineering, a close cooperation with the rest of the engineering milieu in Trondheim is vital for its existence.