By fermenting organic waste, Greentech lnnovators will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase food production. This will take place by using a protein additive in animal feed and fertiliser in the production of microalgae.
Food waste is not only a problem in itself when Norwegians throw away around 400,000 tonnes of food a year. In addition, food waste at landfill sites accounts for large emissions of methane gases, and pollutes both air and water.
“Our goal and business model has been to do something about the organic waste, and try to utilise it in a good way and use it as a resource”, says CEO and Chairman of the Board of Greentech Innovators, Ingmar Høgøy.
Circular economy in practice
According to Greentech Innovators, the solution is to ferment food waste using lactic acid bacteria. As a result, the company will produce single-cell proteins to be used as a feed additive for fish and pets, and nutrient salts to be used as fertiliser in microalgae production. The microalgae will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and can also be used as fish feed. Lactic acid will also be produced that can be used in the production of environmentally friendly bioplastics.
According to finance adviser Ole-Andreas Smette at Innovation Norway Vestland, the fermentation process will produce lower levels of harmful environmental gases than alternative technology, and will not produce greenhouse gases such as methane or CO2.
“This is an example of circular economy in practice, where food waste from industries and households can be utilised as a feed supplement for fish, which in turn can be consumed by humans. The residual waste from production can be used as an organic fertiliser product, and all the nutrients from the food waste are therefore put back into the food chain”, Smette explains.
Pilot project funding
Greentech Innovators received NOK 2.8 million in funding from Innovation Norway’s environmental technology scheme last year. The money will be used to build a pilot plant at Flesland in Bergen in collaboration with the waste management company BIR, in addition to laboratory facilities.
Via the company’s subsidiaries, the technology has previously received both grants and advisory services within the field of business development from Innovation Norway.
“Receiving support from Innovation Norway has been absolutely crucial. We are attempting to build up an industry, and that requires investment, so it wouldn’t have been possible without the support”, says Høgøy.
Initially, the pilot plant will process waste from the local restaurant and catering industry, which equates to approximately 1000 tonnes. The aim is then to expand operations where household waste is also processed, which involves between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes.
The road ahead
According to Smette, it is expected that the company’s first commercial plant will be up and running during 2022.
“If successful, the project will be able to process large quantities of organic waste. There are other national and international companies that are also working on this, but Greentech has been working on the technology for many years, has high levels of expertise and has come a long way regarding biological and technological developments”, he says.
Høgøy says that the plan is to expand gradually and eventually focus on international expansion. He hopes to continue the journey with Innovation Norway all the way, and the company has applied for funding from the Green Platform Initiative, a collaborative venture between Innovation Norway, the Research Council of Norway, Enova and Siva.