50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2020
The Silicon Review
“By using our technology, we are converting food waste to protein and omega-3 oil. We are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from food waste. The timing for this idea is good as new regulations are demanding more circular solutions for food waste management.”
The global aquaculture industry has been in steady growth for a long time and is extremely important in the production of healthy seafood for a growing population, but there is a limitation for further growth. Both fish meal and soy are important ingredients in aquaculture feed. These are limited resources and give environmental concerns for over-utilized fish resources and destroying rain forests to give land for soy production. To continue growing, the aquaculture industry requires new and sustainable feed sources. We’re not utilizing our food waste; instead, it causes global environmental problems as the greenhouse gas from landfills is responsible for 11 percent of global methane emission. Organic waste is also causing nitrification of ocean and water bodies. This is leading to potentially toxic algae blooms, which is becoming more and more common.
In light of the foregoing, we’re pleased to present Greentech Innovators — a company that identifies needs in the market and collaborates with research communities, innovators, and industry to develop solutions for circular bio-economy. Greentech’s initial focus is on the reuse of organic waste through fermentation. The fermented organic waste will be used as fertilizer for microalgae cultivation in its daughter company AlgaePro AS. The microalgae will be used as a protein and omega-3 rich feed supplement for aquaculture.
Greentech was incorporated in 2018 and is headquartered in Bergen, Norway.
Ingmar Høgøy, Greentech Innovators Co-Founder and Chairman, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. At what point did you feel that a change is needed and what motivated to work for this cause?
Food waste is a modern problem caused by urbanization. My grandparents did not have this problem. They were using the waste as feed. We must learn from this and find solutions that fit into an urban lifestyle. I realized that the answer to a promising solution was very close; reducing greenhouse gas emission and increasing aquaculture feed production by improving the utilization of food waste.
Q. Explain your services in brief.
The opportunity to produce aquaculture feed and utilize food waste, at the same time, trigged me. As a result, we established both Greentech Innovators and Algaepro. Our service is to use biotechnology solutions by fermentation of food waste and convert it into single-cell protein (SCP) for use in aquaculture feed. Our solution is also using nitrogen and phosphorus as organic fertilizer, substituting mineral fertilizer, for farming of microalgae in a controlled environment.
Microalgae have great potential as an alternative source of marine protein and oil. The growing feed market demands high production at low prices, and appropriate technology for large scale cultivation of microalgae, to date, has not been fully optimized. We believe our technology will pave the way for the commercial cultivation of microalgae from waste streams for fish feed and other specialized aquacultures, enabling countries with colder climates and clean energy to sustainably grow microalgae for their industries. As the global aquaculture market continues to grow, the demand for sustainable microalgae will similarly increase. Estimations indicate that revenues are forecasted to exceed $75 million by 2026.
By using our technology, we are converting food waste to protein and omega-3 oil. We are also reducing greenhouse gas emissions from food waste in landfills. The timing for this idea is good as new regulations are demanding more circular solutions for food waste management.
Q. How cooperative is the government and is there any standard regulation that will help you to work for the cause?
Verbally most governments are very co-operative, and politicians are focusing on new and sustainable solutions, but the financial tools are limited and not in line with the environmental challenges we all must contribute to solving. Many startups with circular solutions are facing challenges with existing regulatory issues and it takes time to get new regulations supporting circular economy and sustainable solutions.
Q. Other than the markets you’re serving currently, who are the potential customers you see will be working with in the future.
All the large aquaculture feed companies are looking for new and sustainable protein and omega-3 sources as a feed ingredient. Single-cell protein is one of the most promising candidates as a high-quality protein ingredient substituting fish meal and soy protein. Microalgae are the origin ofthe production of omega-3 in nature and a good substitute for fish oil. The feed companies are all interested in new alternatives to fish meal and soya as a feed ingredient. Developing new markets and documenting the benefits for the customers builds on networks and communications established over many years. It’s a multidisciplinary field requiring the expertise of extremely high calibre professionals within both academia and the aquaculture industry.
Whilst we at Greentech and Algaepro are fortunate to collaborate and partner with industry experts across a diverse range of environmental industries, I would say that true success results from being dedicated to your vision, not giving up at the first hurdle but pursuing your dream to its ultimate end goal.
Greentech Innovators together with Algaepro recognize the importance of an efficient circular bio-economy which will contribute to a healthy and sustainable way of life for us all. We can all reduce our carbon footprint by reducing food waste to a minimum and see leftovers as a resource and not dispose of it to landfills but process it for feed production.
Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?
We have got the second largest waste management company in Norway, BIR as a partner, and have good opportunities for scaling up and commercializing our solutions. We’re planning for commercialization and expansion in four steps. First a pilot plant for R&D and proof of concept. Second a demo plant for 1000 tons of organic waste, and third a full-scale plant for processing 30 000 tons of food waste. Step number four is an international expansion in cooperation with local waste management companies. An interesting element in our business idea is that we act as a service provider and will get paid for the raw material we are using at our processing plant. Our total capital need is 30 million USD. Investors interested in ESG investments are welcome to contact us for more detailed information regarding our business proposal.
Phone: +47 93432494
Ingmar Høgøy: In His Own Words
Already as a young boy, I got a passion for fisheries and Aquaculture. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their island home and this gave me an insight into marine life. I started experimenting with growing microalgae in an aquarium using fertilizer for growth at an age of 12. I made a small pond and was catching wild trout fry for farming. At 15, I started fish farming with rainbow trout in a homemade fish cage.
Later in my career, I have been dedicated to different parts of the aquaculture value chain in Norway, including research, product development, processing, and sales. At an early stage in the development of the Norwegian salmon industry, I was working in a salmon processing plant and realized that there was no waste management solution for the processed by-products like viscera and bones. This became an environmental problem. I found that the rest raw material from processing was a valuable resource containing high-quality protein and oil but was not utilized. I was hired at a pioneering company, built up a factory for processing the rest raw materials from the salmon industry into fish protein and oil as feed. Since then I have been dedicated to the circular economy, utilizing waste from fisheries and aquaculture by developing a new product as feed, special feed, and proteins for human consumption. The utilization of the rest raw materials from fisheries and aquaculture is now a large and profitable industry in Norway