Fredrika Gullfot, founder and CEO of Simris Alg, displays their first algae oil production.

Fredrika Gullfot, founder and CEO of Simris Alg, displays their first algae oil production.

Sweden’s Simris Alg AB has produced its first batch of oil from algae, grown and harvested in the company’s plant, located in the village of Hammenhög, in southern Sweden. It’s a major breakthrough for Simris Alg, being the first Swedish venture to enter the international algae production market. The company’s algae oil is testing rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and will be used to replace fish oil in food and dietary supplements.

Simris Alg’s algae farm was commissioned in the spring of 2013 and is the only one of its kind in Sweden. Harvesting of the omega-3-rich algae started this summer and now the first batch of oil has been extracted, produced solely from feedstock cultivated by Simris Alg.

“This is a major breakthrough for us,” said Fredrika Gullfot, founder and CEO of Simris Alg. “In less than three years we have gone from a desktop project to cultivation and commercial production. To call ourselves an oil company is a fantastic feeling! This is an important market for the future, but only a limited number of companies can produce oil from algae on a commercial scale.”

The algae oil will be used in Simris Algs own dietary supplement product, Simris Omega-3, planned for market introduction in 2014. The oil will also be used in omega 3-enhanced food and drinks.

“It’s easy to dismiss omega-3 as an insignificant niche, but it’s presently a multi-billion dollar market with an annual growth rate of 8% and addresses a major environmental problem,” said Ms. Gullfot. “The conventional raw materials used to extract omega-3 are fish oil, and that together with fish meal are the direct cause of the present situation of catastrophic overfishing. By extracting the oil directly from algae instead, the overfishing can be reduced for the good of health and environment.”

—by Mikael Molin, Cleantech Inn