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

Project Summary

IDEA final event (6th of july): more information and registrations here!


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


Farmer's microalgae webinar (ENG + FR)

You can review all presentations from our microalgae webinar in French and English here




Results related to algae growth and harvest

  • Growth of cold adapted algae
  • CO2 capture from air in a radial flow contactor

  • A membrane based harvesting and water re-use technology (MAF-technology)

Results related to algae processing

  • Wet preservation of Nannochloropsis & Porphyridium biomass

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

You can read our IDEA folder here.

Final event of the Interreg NWE project IDEA

Incorporating stakeholders meeting of the Interreg2seas project ValgOrize


Tuesday July 6th, 2021 (whole day event)


Online event


During the event findings of the IDEA project will be presented by the project partners covering among others year round micro algae growth in NWeurope, increasing sustainability of micro algae growth and harvest, wet preservation of algae biomass, processing of algae biomass into products, algae-based product evaluation (feed/food/cosmetics), whole value chain assessment for techno-economic and logistic aspects, and a roadmap towards implementation of an economic viable algae value chain. Further, interactions with other projects (like ValgOrize) & stakeholders will be enabled to get a broader view on opportunities/barriers for algae in Europe.

Target audience

The event is relevant for all stakeholders of the algae value chain, comprising (potential) algae growers, algae biomass processors, companies that (potentially) produce algae-based products, equipment suppliers, authorities, investors and scientists.


  • Plenary presentations
  • Break-out rooms for discussions
  • E-posters: open to all via call for abstracts
  • Virtual tours

Registration fee

Free of charge - registration required

Programme (9h15 - 16h15)


Keynote: The IDEA project as a whole – Leen Bastiaens (Coordinator Interreg NWE project IDEA, VITO, B).

Session 1: Algae biomass production.

  • Year-round micro-algae cultivation in NWEurope in two pilot facilities – IDEA-partners (Forschungzentrum Julich (D), Thomas More Radius (B), Centrale Supélèc (F) with links to other partners).
  • Increasing sustainability at algae farms by using CO2 captured from the air and medium re-use – IDEA partners (University of Twente (NL) and VITO (B), with links to other partners).
  • Algae growth on pretreated digestate – Representative of the Interreg NWE project ALG-AD (Swansea University, UK).

Virtual visit to SUNBUILT, algae growth & harvest pilot plant in Belgium.

Session 2: Algae biomass processing & formulation into marketable products.

  • Wet preservation of micro-algae biomass at algae farms – IDEA-partners (VITO (B) and Centrale Supélèc (F), with links to other partners).
  • The added value of algae-based ingredients in food & feed formulations – IDEA partners (TEAGASC (IRL) and Feed Design Lab (NL), with links to other partners).
  • Impact of micro- & macro-algae biomass on taste – Johan Robbens (Coordinator Interreg2seas project ValgOrize, ILVO, B).
  • Algae as ingredients for cosmetics – Patrick Gonry (GOVA (B) with links to IDEA partners).

Virtual visit to VITO Labs and pilot infrastructure.

Session 3: Algae-based values chains.

  • Techno-economic and logistic considerations. IDEA partners (VITO (B) with links to other partners).
  • Roadmap towards implementation of the algae value chain in NWEurope. IDEA partners (VITO (B) & Innovatiesteunpunt (B), with links to other project partners).

Session 4: Break-out discussion sessions followed by plenary conclusions by the moderators.

Closing conclusions


Call for abstracts is open!

  • E-posters may consist of pdf-versions of classical posters or short pre-recorded presentations related to aspects of algae-value chains
  • E-posters will be available via the IDEA website during and after the event.
  • All parties interested in presenting an e-poster are invited to complete the abstract template and submit it online by May 10th, 2021.
  • Notifications will be distributed before the end of May.




The IDEA & ValgOrize consortium are looking forward to welcome you at the event!

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