‘Major milestone’ for algal oil plant

[USA] A joint venture that aims to revolutionise aquaculture with its sustainable omega-3 oil from natural marine algae has celebrated a major milestone in the construction of its new US production site.
Production as the Nebraska plant, being built by Veramaris, Royal DSM and Evonik, is due to come on stream in mid-2019, when commercial quantities of algal oil will be ready for delivery.

The construction of the US$ 200 million facility is progressing on-time and according to plan, and a topping-out ceremony was held yesterday in Blair, Nebraska.

Pilot-scale quantities of algal oil are already being supplied to selected feed producers and farmers for market development.

‘Our algal oil is the response to the industry’s call for a sustainable source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA,’ Veramaris CEO Karim Kurmaly said.

‘The known provenance of all the raw materials used in our process makes the product fully traceable.’

The initial annual production capacity of the Nebraska plant will meet roughly 15 per cent of the total current annual demand for EPA and DHA by the global salmon aquaculture industry.

Veramaris uses locally sourced sugar in its fermentation process. The algae strain, Schizochytrium, which is applied, has the advantage of producing the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA and the resulting oil has a concentration exceeding 50 per cent. The production site will be entirely waste-free.

A total of 16 million tonnes of wild fish are caught for the production of fish oil and fishmeal. With the help of natural marine algae, Veramaris will contribute to closing the supply-demand gap for omega-3 EPA and DHA, while helping to conserve marine life and biodiversity in the oceans, the company said.

The successful product and process development was only possible thanks to the complementary competencies that Evonik and DSM bring to the collaboration: DSM has expertise in the cultivation of marine organisms, including algae and long established biotechnology capabilities in development and operations.

And Evonik’s focus has been on developing industrial biotechnology processes and operating competitively large-scale manufacturing sites for fermentative amino acids.


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