Feed ingredient specialist Olmix, based in Bréhan (Morbihan) in France is to launch a program in conjunction with supporting organisation Oséo to treat fresh ulva (sea lettuce) for use in animal and plant nutrition.
(established in 1995) manufactures additives for animal feed, hygiene products for farms, plastics, cosmetics, cement, etc., and also processes clay-based Montmorillon, trace elements and algae.
Olmix now wants to create a new product line from green algae "fresh, not fermented," said Hervé Balusson, founding president of the company.
A new machine has been built in Plestin-les-Greves (Côtes d'Armor, Brittany) to collect the algae. It consists of a plateau, a treadmill and a device to ensilage the sea lettuce.
Testing had already been done in Plestin in 2008, but the ulva were mixed with sand, and results were not conclusive. The algae will now be collected in the water.
Products from sea lettuce
Free from sea water, algae are then frozen, refined and processed, separating the sugars, juices and green matter.
Among the opportunities: a product called Ecofish, which will be used in fish nutrition in aquaculture. It has already been tested in Vietnam and plants will be build in Korea, China, Canada, said Balusson.
The project will commence January 2, and is supported by Oséo
, the bank of innovation, in its Strategic Industrial Innovation program.
The project is carried out in conjunction with several partners: INRA
, the University of Western Brittany, the University of South Brittany, and Technopole Brest.
Olmix expects to refine 600 to 800 tons of dry algae per week, part of which will go to another Bréhan company, PRP, which produces fertilizers.
Hervé Balusson said the project requires an investment of €25 million of which €17 million is from Olmix. Once in place, about a hundred jobs will have been created.