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PROTEUS

kelP side stReam valOrisaTion to dEvelop new biobased valUe chainS

Project details

Type of project
Innovation Action – Flagship
Project focus
Bio-based chemicals
Feedstock origin
Aquatic
Feedstock type
Micro/macro algae
Project period
1 May 2024 - 30 April 2028
Status
In progress
CBE JU Contribution
€ 9 605 076,75
Call identifier
HORIZON-JU-CBE-2023

Summary

Brown macroalgae, particularly L. hyperborea, are an untapped renewable resource in Europe that can be used to produce a variety of products, including alginates, cellulose, and other polysaccharides, as well as flavours and nutritional ingredients for human and animal health and welfare. 

However, current harvesting approaches are limiting the widespread valorisation of Europe’s kelp resources. Specifically, formaldehyde is used to prevent harvest rot, which occurs when brown kelp is exposed to air, causing chemical and enzymatic reactions. Additionally, the current production is mainly focused on the extraction of alginate, the most valuable fraction, resulting in the utilisation of only 15% of L. hyperborea’s biomass. 

PROTEUS aims to maximise the value of L. hyperborea by optimising formaldehyde-free harvesting and residual extraction methods. With this, the project will enable full use of the L. hyperborea resource at a large scale and help promoting the growth of the EU’s blue economy.

PROTEUS aims to enable sustainable extraction and valorisation of L. hyperborea compounds by: 

  • Implementing a continuous processing line for alginate extraction and production of bio-based products, embracing the safe-and-sustainable-by-design framework that promotes environmental sustainability and circularity.
  • Establishing a sustainable supply chain for high-quality raw materials by optimising the harvesting process and achieving resource independence and competitiveness.
  • Designing a process that synchronises product flow and processing, ensuring an optimised manufacturing process for high extraction efficiency and high-quality ingredients. 
  • Ensuring compliance with food safety standards, good manufacturing services, and industry regulations by obtaining the necessary certifications and approvals for regulatory compliance.
  • Demonstrating the successful application of L. hyperborea bio-based compounds in bio-based products in target industries by understanding market needs to develop industry-aligned formulations.
  • Developing best-practice recommendations, conducting a life cycle sustainability assessment, and minimising environmental impacts.
  • Developing business models for scale-up and replication of the harvesting and biorefinery approaches, as well as a commercial strategy to develop the value chain for bio-based compounds from L. hyperborea, ensuring intellectual property protection. 
  • Developing a communication and dissemination strategy to enhance social acceptance of PROTEUS.

By maximising the full use of L. hyperborea in Europe, PROTEUS aims to accomplish the following:

  • Promote industrial competitiveness, strategic autonomy, and resource independence, thereby reducing EU dependency on imports of alginate and its raw materials. 
  • Improve circularity and resource efficiency, maximising the use of residual biomass and increasing alginate quality and efficiency.
  • Develop scalable and market uptake of circular bio-based solutions for high-value applications. · Make available a broader range of bio-based products that meet market requirements.
  • Create business opportunities and income diversification for stakeholders across the value chain.
  • Create skilled job opportunities and investments in the bio-based sector.
  • Promote social acceptance of bio-based products and solutions.
  • Contribute to the Sustainable Blue Economy Partnership and R&I mission 'Restore our oceans and waters by 2030'.

Consortium map

Project coordination

  • ALGINOR ASA Haugesund, Norway

Consortium

  • HAVFORSKNINGSINSTITUTTET Bergen, Norway
  • OLMIX Brehan, France
  • STEINBEIS INNOVATION GGMBH Stuttgart, Germany
  • BORREGAARD AS Sarpsborg, Norway
  • Vaessen-Schoemaker B.V. Deventer, Netherlands
  • CLIC INNOVATION OY Helsinki, Finland
  • ALGINOR BIOREFINERY AS Haugesund, Norway
  • Hypomar AS Haugesund, Norway
  • ESSITY HYGIENE AND HEALTH AB GOTEBORG, Sweden
  • NORSUS NORSK INSTITUTT FOR BAEREKRAFTSFORSKNING AS KRAKEROY, Norway