Two-year-old microalgae producers Algae Natural Food, based in Northeastern France, and Cargill, one of the world’s leading malt producers, have launched the first stage of their project to grow microalgae in Strasbourg, France’s port area. For this circular economy project, Algae Natural Food will transform the Cargill Malt processing water and CO2 into a source of energy and nutrients for the cultivation of organic microalgae, according to the companies.

As part of the malt production process, the Cargill site in Strasbourg generates heat, water loaded with nutrients, and “natural” CO2 resulting from the respiration of the barley, offering an industrial symbiosis between the malting activity and the microalgae production. A pilot plant, in partnership between Cargill and Algae Natural Food, has just been installed on the malt house site.

“This initiative fits in perfectly with Cargill’s policy of supplying products and services from sustainable practices,” said Gilles Lazar, director of Cargill Malt in Strasbourg. “It was therefore important for us to support Algae Natural Food’s ambition to only develop products according to the principles of the green economy. In addition, this initiative will also have a positive impact on our environmental footprint, as it will allow us in the short term to reuse 10% of our wastewater, recycle the heat from our activity, and reduce our CO2 emissions by 5%.”

This project was created as part of the industrial and territorial ecology initiative developed in the port area of Strasbourg. Besides the environmental impact, the territory as a whole stands to benefit with 10 new jobs created in Alsace since the beginning of the year and plans to double the project’s workforce in the short term.

In France, where there are few production sites, spirulina is primarily imported. Algae Natural Food aims to address that market by producing 60 to 100 tons of spirulina per year at the site in various forms: powder, tablets, extruded beads or flakes. Having received the ECOCERT organic certification, production will be earmarked for organic food stores and for the manufacture of quality ingredients.