Algae are the perfect raw biomaterial for the future. They are ideal as food and animal feed, and as a source of valuable chemicals. Furthermore, algae actively reduce CO2 levels in the air.

Algae are highly versatile. They are full of valuable components, which are very hard to synthesise otherwise: proteins, fat, oil, colours, antioxidants, etc. In addition, algae absorb CO2 and nutrients. No wonder that algae are high on the agenda of the chemical industry, the animal feed and food sector, the pharmaceutical industry and the energy sector.

Algae cultivation, harvesting and processing

VITO is a pioneer regarding research into algae. We mainly focus on the harvesting, medium reuse and on ‘downstream processing’. For example, VITO and Thomas More Kempen joined forces for the EFRO Sunbuilt investment project to develop and apply the cultivation and use of algae. The project should turn algae into a fully-fledged agricultural crop and establish that form of biobased economy. It is about the production of algae, continuous harvesting and processing into a wide range of end products: algae and extraction products.

A 100 m² pilot installation for algae cultivation is available for specific production at the request of (industrial) partners. The university of applied sciences takes care of the algae cultivation. VITO optimises the harvest, the water recycling and the techniques to extract valuable products from the algae.

Flemish Algae Platform

Various Flemish research centres, knowledge institutes and companies are setting up algae research and demonstration projects. To coordinate and streamline these initiatives, and to correctly inform stakeholders on algae and algae cultivation, the Flemish Algae Platform was established. The platform was launched in 2009 as a voluntary initiative of a number of players in the Flemish algae sector. VITO co-founded the organisation.