“It is very exciting and extremely valuable,” says Fredrik Adams, a cleantech entrepreneur who has worked on renewable energy and algae projects for almost a decade. His latest company, Firglas, is on the verge of producing algae as a food ingredient on a wholesale level. The business is building two large-scale commercial plants in Spain and the Netherlands and plans to produce “tens of tonnes of dry matter” later this year. It will grow algae in closed photobioreactor systems containing water and salt, allowing year-round production.
In the EU, the algae biomass sector is valued at €1.69bn and employs 14,000 people in research and development and the supply chain, according to a 2018 European Commission report. “The increased inclusion of algae in western diets could help fill some of the food production needs associated with expected human population growth,” the report notes.