enny Hjul reports in Fish Farmer magazine that the French microalgae firm Inalve was the winner at the Aquaculture Innovation Europe conference, with its patented technology aimed at reducing farmers’ dependence on wild fish for feed.
“What the feed industry is now looking for is a rich alternative protein…and we at Inalve have found one,” said CEO and co-founder Christophe Vasseur.
The company, a university spin-off, has more than 25 years of experience in R&D in microalgae, and has won more than ten innovation prizes in the past three years. Their technology produces microalgae that is suspended in the water, in a biofilm system which reduces energy and water consumption, for a low environmental footprint.
Inalve has formulated the microalgae into two products: an algae meal with protein as nutritious as fishmeal and a natural source of omega-3; and an algae additive, providing health and growth to the animals. Dr. Vasseur said their biorefineries out-compete alternative technologies on the market such as insect meal, plant protein and animal protein, on both cost and productivity.
Inalve has established proof of concept over the last three years and has secured three million euros in private and public investment. The company is now scaling up production in the south of France and will provide ingredients to the aquafeed market next year.
By 2023, Inalve will be producing 1,000 tons of microalgae feed a year from its pilot farm, according to Dr. Vasseur.
The two-day Aquaculture Innovation Europe conference is in its third year, giving selected start-up companies an opportunity to pitch their inventions and business propositions to potential investors.