Swedish Algae Factory, whose journey was facilitated by the Innovation Office in 2013, just received an EU grant of 17 million SEK and has an exciting future.
THE STORY OF Swedish Algae Factory began with the discovery of a diatom, an algae species, found by the researcher Angela Wulff’s doctoral student Anders Torstensson. He was on a polar expedition drilling in the ice surrounding Antarctica. The water samples were brought to Gothenburg, where he and Angela analyzed them and found the algae. Angela became fascinated by how the unicellular organisms could survive in the extreme environme-nt coping with very large variations in temperature, salinity and light.
A SMALL TEAM of students at the Idea Evaluation course at Chalmers School of Entrepreneurship examined the business potential. The findings were positive and Angela formed Swedish Algae Factory in December 2014 together with Sofie Allert, one of the students in the team.
– I am completely uninterested in business. That is why I was very grateful to get in touch with the amazing entrepreneurship students who are passionate about doing business plans. I want to devote myself to being creative as a researcher, Angela says.
OVER THE YEARS, the team has focused on the different features of the algae and tried different application areas. The algae biomass can be used to produce crude oil and for more sustainably produced fertilizers. Its fatty acidic content can be used to feed salmon and its silicon content can be used as abrasive in toothpaste.
AFTER INVESTIGATING THE potential of different mar-kets, Swedish Algae Factory is currently focusing on using the algae to enhance the efficiency of solar panels. They are cultivating their own algae in Kungshamn, where both carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater are used. By 2030, the aim is to have one hundred factories up and running worldwide, contributing to a more sustainable future.