Biotech company Microphyt receives €15m to construct sustainable microalgae biorefinery

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AUTHOR: Tilly St Aubyn

Producer of microalgae ingredients, Microphyt, has received €15m in funding and will invest the money in building what it claims will be the world’s first and biggest fully integrated microalgae refinery at its headquarters in Baillargues, France.

The project is part of the company’s SCALE programme which brings together 11 international partners, including technology and energy solution company Evolys, and school of hospitality management, food services and culinary arts Institut Paul Bocuse Institute.  SCALE aims to develop safe aquaculture ingredients that are produced in a sustainable and natural way.  

The €15m funding was received from Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBIJU) – a partnership between the European Commission and the Bio-industries-Consortium.  

The industrial biorefinery will be built in Baillargues, near Montpellier, and will produce effective microalgae-based ingredients for the nutrition, food and beverage and wellness industries. By using their own Camargue Technology to produce and extract bioactive compounds, Microphyt claims it will be able to take full advantage of the potential of microalgae. Its technology works to mimic optimum growth conditions allowing high levels of control and strong yield.  

Micorphyt does not use GMOs or pesticides and says that the SCALE programme will incorporate renewable energy, in an effort to hit European Climate targets by cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. 

“We are really proud to coordinate the SCALE program which foster the transition towards sustainably produced microalgae-based ingredients for nutrition and wellness.”, said Microphyt CEO Vincent Usache on the company’s website. “Our partners are strongly committed and we’ve received great support from both the European Commission and the BBI JU. SCALE is a key step on Microphyt’s journey as it unlocks the full potential microalgae and its amazing biodiversity.”

According to Microphyt, the refinery will enable production capacity to increase five-fold and allow for the production of over fifteen new ingredients derived from microalgae. It is also expected to create around 100 jobs by 2025. 

The company was founded in 2007 and raised €28.5 million in June 2019. It launched its first nutritional ingredient, BrainPhyt, for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline in 2020. 

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