Seaweed technology is being developed in Lithuania for “Unilever”, “Nestle” and other corporations
The Norwegian investor “Valinor” that invests in sustainable projects, has established a company “Sirputis” UAB in Lithuania.
In cooperation with its Lithuanian partner “Metal production”, the company will develop macroalgae cultivation technology. After implementation of this project, it is expected to attract foreign investment and to offer an important innovation to the market.
“Valinor AS” is an investment company investing in sustainable energy and infrastructure projects. In the year 2017, aquaculture has been identified as a strategic direction of the company.According to the project promoters, edible seaweed cultivation is a fast growing industry with a huge economic potential both nationally and internationally.Within two years it is planned to develop an innovative technology of industrial-scale cultivation and automated harvesting of edible seaweed. It is being developed by the researchers from Norway, the Netherlands and Lithuania, and some of the complex research will be carried out by the Dutch Wageningen University.“The technology developed in Lithuania has very good prospects. It will automate most of the manual algae cultivation and harvesting processes. This will reduce the cost of the whole process. “Unilever”, “Nestle” and other big companies are the customers who are interested in this technology. Our target markets are the Nordic countries, the European Union, the USA, Canada, Asia”, - said the Norwegian investor Mr. Morten Kroslid, the Head of “Sirputis” (Seaweed processing technologies).Algae and the materials derived thereof can be used for various purposes, such as production of food and food additives, feed, fertilizers, chemicals, biofuels.
Orientation to the food
The technologies and equipment developed by us will be more oriented to the food and nutritional supplement industry”, - notes Mr. Gediminas Tamošaitis, Director of Engineering Services at Metal Production UAB. It is supposed that in the next few decades, the global demand for nutrients will increase, the climate change will exacerbate ecological problems and considerably decrease the areas of agricultural land, the exhausted soil and CO2 emissions will remain one of the most urgent issues. Due to all these reasons, the demand for seaweed products will grow worldwide, and the need for industrial cultivation of this plant – especially for cheaper than the existing technologies – will become increasingly important. “Macroalgae are probably the most nutritious plant on earth, rich in nutrients and vitamins, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for human health”, - said Mr. Kroslid. According to Mr. Tamošaitis G., while working with clients from Norway, they have designed seaweed growing and cultivation facilities and have gained experience. The company has submitted a project of 1.7 million EUR for EU funding to develop an industrial-scale microalgae cultivation technology that would be more productive than existing technologies “If we are successful, together with “Sirputis” we will sell the developed algae cultivation equipment and provide consulting services”, - the Director plans.It is much faster to create prototypes in Lithuania, where there are many flexible suppliers, than doing it abroad. The activities will include the “Rocket Cluster” Engineering Cluster companies. “Valinor” was brought to Lithuania by Mr. Kroslid M., one of “Metal Production” shareholders.
Partner – Facebook
The history of “Valinor AS” began in the year 1997 with the establishment of a holding company “Norsk Vind Energy”. In 2010, it finished the construction of the Høg-Jæren wind farm and, according to the company’s website, this project became the main revenue source of the company.
Later, the company invested in “ICON Systems”, a developer of digitization solutions for aquaculture, and its farming platform “Salmatic”. It also invested in the lobster farm in Norway, companies offering digitization solutions for marine fisheries, companies developing marine measurement equipment etc.
In 2018, “Valinor” signed an agreement with “Facebook”, under which “Facebook” will buy wind energy produced in the largest Norwegian wind park for 15 years. “Valinor AS” and its shareholders have invested in 56 companies.
“Sirputis UAB” was registered in Šiauliai half a year ago, now the company has 7 employees.
This week, the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (Lith. LVPA) announced that it has signed an agreement with “Sirputis UAB” concerning the EU investment in amount of 2.9 million EUR; the total amount t of investment will make approx. 4 million EUR.
“We are glad that the Norwegian capital company is developing a project in Lithuania, which meets the ecological priorities set by the European Commission in developing innovative product technologies, and thus our country contributes to the global problem solving. Innovations aimed at preservation of marine ecosystems are especially important at the moment”, – the press release quotes Mr. Aurimas Pautienius-Želvys, Director of the LVPA.
Through research and experimental development (R&D), the project will seek to develop a modular macroalgae production process that will be easily expanded and proportionally developed by expanding the farm size, increasing the equipment throughput and macroalgae output.
Translated by Kalbų spektras UAB