About AlgaeCenter Denmark
The newly formed consortium, AlgaeCenter Denmark, is now in the process of setting up algae cultivation facilities at the Kattegatcentret at Grenaa Harbour. The consortium partners are Aarhus University, Danish Technological Institute, Kattegatcentret and Ocean Centre Denmark.
The plant at Grenaa Harbour is Denmark's first recirculation system for research and development in the use of algae as a new resource for sustainable energy, food, medicine and food ingredients. Industry as well as researchers from Aarhus University and Danish Technological Institute will conduct research together, and their findings are to be used to enhance growth and development – both regional, nationally and internationally. The location at the Kattegatcentret offers a unique opportunity for the dissemination of research through school services, exhibitions and tours.
The plant is funded by Danish Technological Institute and Aarhus University, while Kattegatcentret is making a 500 m2 area available for the plant. The plant was constructed by the AKVA group – a company that designs and develops recirculation systems for aquaculture. In the longer term, the plant will be expanded with several pools.
With 2.3 million Danish kroner from Central Denmark Region's Growth Forum, one of the first projects in the facility is "Algae to Biogas in Region Midtjylland." Funding has been awarded to the consortium partners as well as the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences at Aarhus University and DONG Energy, which together will explore the potential of producing biogas from algae and the use of residues as fertilizer for organic crop production. Chairman of the Regional Council, Bent Hansen, is delighted to be able to support the project, linking future major environmental and energy benefits with increased research, business and enterprise development in the region: "The region is committed to support the development of an attractive base from which a strong network of regional, national and international companies and research is anchored in this region. The goal is to become a world leader in the development of an exciting new business in renewable energy," says, Bent Hansen.
The first phase of the plant was completed in the summer of 2010. The system consists of eight large cultivation tanks for the controlled cultivation of seaweeds.
Senior Advisor Michael Bo Rasmussen, Aarhus University, says "With this system we have a unique opportunity to document almost every aspect of algae growth and cultivation, and thus generate knowledge that makes it possible to assess the potential of converting the algae to biogas and bioethanol. Denmark is a pioneer in biogas technology, and technology advances continue. With the algae cultivation system, the consortium AlgaeCenter Denmark and the Central Denmark Region have the opportunity to get ahead – even on the resource side.”
Head of Section, Peter Daugbjerg Jensen, Danish Technological Institute, noted that the new plant provides the basis for creating a new, local enterprise based on biomass, a potential which has only been applied to a limited extent in Denmark so far: "With the increased focus on phasing out fossil carbon it is necessary that we use all types of biomass. AlgaeCenter Denmark will, with this new facility, have a unique basis for promoting the use of seaweed and algae, which is the largest currently untapped biomass resource in Denmark."
Research Consultant at Ocean Centre Denmark, Lone Thybo Mouritsen, emphasizes that AlgaeCenter Denmark offers the opportunity to jumpstart research, business and communication activities in Ocean Centre Denmark: "Algae Centre Denmark becomes an Ocean Centre Denmark on a smaller scale. AlgaeCenter Denmark creates the opportunity to strengthen interactions between research and industry – even within the sustainable use of marine resources."