IDEA - Implementation and development of economic viable algae-based value chains

Project Summary

IDEA envisions the development and enrolment of economic viable value chains based on micro-algae in NWEurope. More particularly, partners from Belgium, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Ireland are involved which are countries exposed to a similar climate that is significantly different from the south-European  and North-European climate. 

The growing world population is in need for new sustainable resources for healthy food/feed & chemicals. Algae produce a variety of compounds via conversion of CO2, nutrients and light, and offer potential as renewable feedstock. Although light intensities and temperatures are lower compared to south-Europe, there is a potential for algae growth. For some species, the NWEuropean climate may even have advantages, and can be economic viable when targeting higher value products (not bioenergy).

Today algae based value chains are not established despite free greenhouse capacities suitable for algae growth. IDEA aims to innovate and push the process development from individual solutions to a viable process chain targeting final compounds for food, feed and cosmetic applications. This will involve at longer term >60 SMEs in the region.

A multidisciplinary team is composed with partners (academics, SMEs, sectoral groups, authorities…) active along the value chain which covers algae growth, harvesting, processing of the algae biomass (including biorefinery) and new marketable final product formulations.

IDEA addresses innovations related to: (1) algae species for NWEurope climate and cultivation efficiency for prolonged growth seasons in NWE (up to 360 days), (2) development of an automated water recirculation, harvest unit & alternative CO2 resources, (3) storage concept, logistics and preservation of algae biomass, (4) regional activities for algae processing, potentially comparable to the milk industry, (5) >15 novel products formulations to targeting value generation. IDEA starts where earlier projects ended.


Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek 200 Boeretang
Name Contact Name Email Country
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH Dominik Behrendt Germany
Algae Natural Food SAS Louis Bourdonnay France
Innovatiesteunpunt voor landbouw en platteland Kristof Severijns Belgium
CentraleSupélec – Université Paris-Saclay Behnam Taidi France
Feed Design Lab Trudy van Megen Netherlands
Thomas More Kempen vzw Sabine Van Miert Belgium
Teagasc, The Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority Maria Hayes Ireland
Value for Technology bvba Phillips Willems Belgium
University of Twente WIm Brilman Netherlands

 To help people understand our project IDEA better, we made an infographic.

You can read our IDEA folder here.

 FZ Jülich organises a workshop and discussion ‘Algenbasierte Wertschöpfungsketten und Schnittstellen zur Bioökonomie’ on January 16th, 2020.

You and your partners or interested colleagues are very welcome since we want to have a many-faceted discussion based on what is going on in our area, and connect to all layers of algae and biomass infrastructure (or not-yet-existing infrastructure) in and around NRW.

Please also check out the websites for more info and networking:

Innovatiesteunpunt has organised a two-day field trip to visit several algae growers and processors in The Netherlands. 10 people were very interested in visiting the various companies such as the Algaeparc (University of Wageningen) and Roem Van Yerseke (a grower of algae). You can read the report about this trip here in Dutch.

Registrez ici!

Registrez ici!

Subsciption webinaire FR

Microalgae: une nouvelle recolte tout au long de l'annee pur l'Europe du Nord-Ouest

La Chaire de Biotechnologie de CentraleSupélec est honorée d'organiser un webinaire destiné spécifiquement aux agriculteurs et aux cultivateurs, afin de fournir les informations nécessaires sur l'exploitation potentielle des microalgues comme biomasse pouvant être produite durant toute l'année dans la zone géographique du nord-ouest de l'Europe.

La culture des microalgues suscite un intérêt de plus en plus important dans le monde de la recherche et de la valorisation industrielle. Cependant, malgré une réalité économique présente, l'Europe reste dépendante de l’impact des importations asiatiques à faible coût sur le marché mondial. La maturité technologique croissante des systèmes de cultures permettent d’envisager de nombreux cycles de production annuelle, même sous les conditions saisonnières non favorables des régions nordiques de l'Europe. Cependant, la production annuelle de biomasse algale rentable d’un point de vue économique et énergétique reste un réel challenge avec des verrous technologiques pour la faisabilité et la compétitivité économique de ce type de procédé industriel.

Ce webinaire vise à sensibiliser les agriculteurs et les producteurs aux possibilités qui existent grâce à cette source de valeur biologique émergente. La viabilité économique et la mise en place de chaine de valeur effective permettra l’exploitation industrielle de plus en plus de microorganismes photosynthétiques à fort potentiel commercial dans un marché en constante évolution.

Cette initiative fait suite au projet Européen Interreg IDEA

Keynote speakers:

  • Leen Bastiaens/ Marzio Monagheddu (Vito, BE)
  • Kristof Severijns (Innovatiesteunpunt, BE)
  • Behnam Taidi (CentraleSupélec, FR)
  • Rayen Filali (CentraleSupélec, France)
  • Nicolas Befort (NEOMA, FR)
  • Christina Kuchendorf (FZJ, DE)

Programme Française (16/09/2020):

9h00 Connection au Webinaire

9h15 Pourquoi les microalgues?

Pause 5 minutes

10h30 Questions

10h50 Utilisations actuelles de Mircoalgae

12h00 Questions

12h30 Fin du webinaire


Register here!

Register here!

Registration form webinar ENG

Microalgae: a new all-year round crop for NW Europe

A webinar in French (16/09/2020) and English (17/09/2020): 9h00 - 12h30

The Chair of Biotechnology of CentraleSupélec is proud to organise a webinar that aims specifically at farmers and growers, to provide information on the use of microalgae as a possible all year crop in the North-Western European geographical area.

Microalgae cultivation is already an economic reality, but Europe remains dependent on Asian imports.  The fast crop maturity cycle allows for many growth cycles per year even in the more northern climates in Europe, but economic production of microalgae remains a challenge.

This webinar aims to raise awareness of farmers and growers to the opportunities that exist through this emerging product.  The production of Organic Spirulina is already economically viable but other photosynthetic microorganisms will become increasing viable commercial propositions.

This webinar is organized in the context of IDEA Interreg project.

Programme (17/09/2020):

9.00 Connecting to the webinar

9.15 General Microalgae presentation

Break 5 minutes

10.30 Questions

10.50 Industrial Microalgae presentation

12.00 Questions

12.30 End of the webinar

Keynote speakers:

  • Leen Bastiaens/ Marzio Monagheddu (Vito, BE)

    Leen Bastiaens is project manager at the applied research Institute VITO and team leader of the renewable chemicals teams.  Leen focusses on algae harvest technologies and fractionation of biomass (like algae and insects) into high value fractions for use in different application field. She is the coordinator of the Interreg NWE IDEA project and is strongly involved in activities to establish algae value chains.

    Marzio Monagheddu facilitates synergistic collaboration between VITO, industry and academia, fostering sustainable industrial development and helping leading edge innovations to become business successes. 

    He is responsible for business relations concerning algae value chain and biorefinery activities.

  • Kristof Severijns (Innovatiesteunpunt, BE)

    Kristof Severijns works at the Innovations Support Centre that supports agricultural entrepreneurs with the will to move forward. Kristof focusses on crops that are not common in farms. He advices farmers on getting started with those crops and helps them to close the gap between farmers and processing companies by looking at the whole value chain and organising inspirations tours.

  • Behnam Taidi (CentraleSupélec, FR)

    Behnam is an Innovator and Research Manager with both Industrial and Academic Experience, in almost equal parts, during a career that spans almost 30 years.  During the last 10 years as a University Professor, Behnam has built the biotransformation team, managed academic and applied research projects and supervised theses to completion. He is the project manager of the IDEA Interreg NWE project.

  • Rayen Filali (CentraleSupélec, France)

    Dr. Rayen Filali is a research engineer at CentraleSupélec/ Biotechnology Chair of CentraleSupélec, where he is responsible for coordinating the biotransformation activity. His research activities concern Bioprocesses Engineering, specifically the optimization of biological systems (microalgae, yeast, fungi) and scale-up of process. He has a strong expertise in the biotechnology of microalgae.

  • Nicolas Befort (NEOMA, FR)
  • Christina Kuchendorf (FZJ, DE)

    Christina Kuchendorf is a researcher and project coordinator at the Institute of at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH in Germany. Christina is the coordinator of the IBG-2 AlgaeScienceCenter with three pilot scale algae production facilities. Control and study of microalgal productivity and growth dynamics in large-volume cultures are major research topics, besides year round algae cultivation.

  • Ageeth van der Lee (FeedDesignLab, NL)

    Ageeth van der Lee is project coordinator at Feed Design Lab. With a nutritional and research background in livestock feeds, she focusses on use of algae in the feed sector, technological aspects when dry or wet application of algae in feed or petfood is researched and animal experiments to show the positive effects of algae on health and performance.




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