Microalgae are “primary producers” and form the base of all aquatic food webs. Primary producers such as plants, algae and microalgae use light as energy source to capture and convert CO2 into carbon rich biomass full of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates. But in contrast to larger plants, the microalgae can grow extremely fast and oftentimes doubles their numbers and weight in just one day. Imagine if a harvest – ready wheat field could do the same! Microalgae need a continuous supply of CO2 to grow this fast, and the CO2 used in the project “AlgScaleUP” will be provided by adding CO2 rich factory fumes from the ferrosilicon smelter plant “Finnfjord AS”. Previous on-site experiments have demonstrated that the factory fumes from Finnfjord AS can be used for this purpose. AlgScaleUP is a knowledge building project with an ambition to develop the technological and biological platform needed for scaling up production of microalgae in large vertical column photobioreactors. This process is in fact biological carbon capture, storage, and utilization or “CCSU”. The microalgae that are produced can be utilized for various applications, such as fish feed ingredient, nutraceutical, pigment source, etc., depending on the cultivated species nutrient and chemical contents. In addition, AlgScaleUP will use state – of – the - art methodology to find out if bio – CCSU technology can be tailored to also reduce the emissions of harmful NOx and SOx by manipulating or supporting the natural presence of various beneficial bacteria in water. If successful, scaled up microalgae production based on industrial emissions can become a new and more sustainable source of proteins, fat and carbohydrates in Norway and elsewhere. Such innovations contribute towards several of the UN sustainable development goals including goal (3) good health, (9) industry innovation and infrastructure, (12) responsible consumption and production, (13) climate actions, and (14) life below water.
The knowledge project AlgScaleUP will secure the technological platform needed for scaling up the production of microalgae at Finnfjord AS ferrosilicon plant through the Green platform AlgOpti. Through utilizing emission gases and heat surplus in a circular loop through a photobioreactor, the ambition of AlgScaleUP is to achieve a sustainable production of microalgae as raw material for salmon feed. The project will (1) generate general knowledge about scaling up microalgae production utilizing CO2 and heat surplus in the metallurgical industry and (2) give direct support to the Green platform AlgOpti in Finnfjord. The following main contributions to a green conversion will be made:
- Through collecting CO2 and introducing the gas into a circular loop for microalgae production, the environmental emission to the atmosphere will be reduced. The reduction in NOx and SOx will in addition represent a positive effect to the local community. The heat surplus from the production of the ferrosilicon process will be utilized as an energy source in the production of microalgae (drying) and improve the overall energy balance of the process.
- Technological knowledge, and a successful scaled up production of microalgae based upon emission gas, has a great potential within the metallurgic industry in Norway and abroad. A positive effect to climate change and carbon neutrality can be achieved.
- The expected growth in the Norwegian salmon industry, and the increasing need for new and more sustainable feed raw materials will be focused. Through making new domestic feed raw material available at large scale (microalgae), the import of raw materials (soya) can be reduced. A more sustainable salmon for the global expanding food markets will be available.
- The projects contributions to the SDGs include (3)Good health, (9)Industry innovation and infrastructure, (12)Responsible consumption and production and (13)Climate actions, and (14)Life below water.