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.

We often have interesting news to tell from within our project. Keep in touch and subscribe to our newsletter!


Newsletter 1: Algae as a viable alternative to food, animal feed and care products

Newsletter 2: Year-round algae cultivation in NWEurope

Newsletter 3: Latest updates in the IDEA project

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