New Start-up develops aquafarms for macroalgae
AWI and Carbonwave spin-off: Large algae simultaneously bind CO₂ and create raw materials for the chemical industry
It all started with the idea of using natural ocean resources to develop new climate-friendly raw materials for industry. To this end, committed researchers from AWI, Carbonwave, GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, and the start-up Seafields joined forces, with the support of BASF. In January 2022 they founded the project "C-CAUSE" (Chemical CARBON Utilization through Sargassum Economy). A short time later, in May 2022, they won a grant of 700,000 euros as part of the "Carbon to Value Challenge" of the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SPRIND).
In this first funding phase a novel value chain was developed: starting with the cultivation of free-floating macroalgae (Sargassum fluitans and natans) in open-ocean aquafarms, biological and renewable carbon feedstocks will be produced for the chemical industry. The goal is to contribute to the decarbonization of the chemical industry while creating products that store carbon over long time periods.
In order to drive further development activities in a second SPRIND funding phase and technical upscaling in an even more agile way, the company MACROCARBON SL was spun out of AWI and Carbonwave on March 23, 2023 and now has received further funding of 2.3 million euros from SPRIND to further develop its innovation. Regarding the goals of the AWI and Carbonwave spin-off, founder and MACROCARBON CEO Dr. Mar Fernández Méndez explains: "MACROCARBON will develop integrated supply chains for the cultivation and processing of Sargassum seaweed. Because Sargassum itself floats, we do not need expensive longlines to be stretched out in the water for this purpose. In addition, the algae grows quickly and thrives in many regions. It binds CO2 very efficiently through natural photosynthesis."
After harvesting the algae, the carbon-rich biomass will be processed into raw materials for the chemical industry (such as bio-naphtha), which will replace products previously derived from fossil fuels. In this way, MACROCARBON aims to contribute to decarbonization, sequestering 100 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2040 and one gigatonne by 2050.
AWI, Carbonwave and its spin-off MACROCARBON plan to continue cooperating with each other. To this end, AWI will contribute its biological process understanding to monitor carbon fluxes and environmental sustainability, thus supporting MACROCARBON in building an innovative value chain. Carbonwave will develop processing methodologies based on their existing operations and production of valuable products from Sargassum in the Caribbean.
Las Palmas, on Gran Canaria, was chosen as the company's headquarters, mainly because its location in the subtropical Atlantic where Sargassum thrives well and because MACROCARBON has access to an ocean platform with a test environment (Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands, PLOCAN) here. This platform is suitable for large-scale experiments and tests of pilot processing plants. The location in the Atlantic Ocean is also easy to reach and at the same time offers the necessary marine high seas conditions. The Canary Islands belong to the EU, which is relevant for SPRIND funding and possible further EU funding. Furthermore, they offer - especially in the context of the so-called Blue Bioeconomy - an attractive start-up "ecosystem".
In addition to the funding from SPRIND, the two companies Carbonwave and Seafields plan to participate in MACROCARBON. It is also expected that Jason Cole, currently Head of Innovation at Carbonwave, will join MACROCARBON's founding team. Seafields and Carbonwave are already involved in aquaculture and the utilization of Sargassum seaweed, respectively, and can contribute valuable experience to the company.
The AWI spin-off MACROCARBON was invited to present itself at the Investor Day of the four non-university research organizations Helmholtz, Max Planck, Fraunhofer and Leibniz in Munich at the end of March. At the event, 39 selected start-ups presented themselves in front of 100 investors. For MACROCARBON this was a very good opportunity to introduce itself to investors and to exchange ideas with other spin-offs from non-university research organizations. As the lively discussion following the MACROCARBON pitch and numerous inquiries from investors at the poster stand showed, the concept is extremely interesting, not only ecologically but also economically.
"For me as a marine biologist, this company foundation is a very exciting but also challenging process. I also learned a lot at this investor event," says Mar Fernández Méndez. "It's good that we are accompanied in this by a dedicated SPRIND coach and the AWI technology transfer office." She adds: "In its latest synthesis report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change again pointed out the great urgency to finally take action. This motivates me to move into broad commercial application by upscaling our research results."
Other news from the department business & finance
Merck to Become First Provider to Offer Fully Integrated mRNA Services
New sites at Darmstadt and Hamburg complement Merck’s global integrated mRNA service network
EXIST funding for innovation in biomedicine
Start-up aims to revolutionize the usage of magnetic nanoparticles
Groundbreaking: Takeda builds lab of the future in Vienna
New research and development laboratory in Vienna's Donaustadt district
Biosynth Extends its Offering to Multi-Kilogram GMP Peptide Synthesis through the Acquisition of Pepceuticals
traceless materials secures €36.6 Million Series A to build first industry plant for bio-circular alternative to plastic
Change-enabler for driving the green transformation of the industry
Cytomos welcomes new Director
£4 million investment sets path for commercialisation of groundbreaking cell analysis technology
Beckman Coulter and Fujirebio enter into partnership
The goal is a patient-friendly, blood-based Alzheimer's disease test
Merck Enters Two Strategic Collaborations to Strengthen AI-driven Drug Discovery
Partnerships with BenevolentAI and Exscientia to drive accelerated drug discovery with higher probability of success
Successful exit: adivo joins Zoetis
adivo’s team and platform will strengthen Zoetis’ capabilities in therapeutic antibody drug discovery for companion animals
Bertelsmann Investments acquires stake in AI-powered Israeli healthcare startup QuantHealth
AI-supported start-up company for clinical trial planning
Moderna and Immatics Announce Strategic Multi-Platform Collaboration
Develop Innovative Oncology Therapeutics
Microplate Dx secures £2.5 million to develop rapid diagnostic technology for better antibiotic use
In minutes rather than days to prescribe the optimal antibiotic
RIANA Therapeutics enters into collaboration agreement with LDC
"This cooperation has the great potential to lay the groundwork for new, urgently needed therapeutic approaches for AML patients"
Six companies enter BioInnovation Institute's Venture House program receiving additional financial support
Most read news
Microbe of the Year 2023: Bacillus subtilis – for health and technology
Already, Bacillus subtilis is indispensable in many industries, and many more innovations are expected
Younger generation gets sick earlier and more often than older generation
In spite of their advanced age, they are in the middle of life, healthy, active and mentally alert – they are referred to as the “young old”
How sleep deprivation can harm the brain
Sleep deprivation decreases the amount of a factor that protects neurons
New approach to testing for long Covid
Blood vessels in the eye altered with persistent coronavirus symptoms
A whole new order of bacteria could hold the key to improving biogas production
The discovery was made by researchers from Germany, Spain and the Netherlands
Cells with an ear for music release insulin
For the first time, researchers are using music, including Queen's global hit "We will rock you," to stimulate insulin release from cells
How to inactivate common cold viruses
In the cold season, cold viruses are everywhere. But we can do something about it
At which age we are at our happiest
An evaluation of over 400 samples shows how subjective well-being develops over the course of a lifespan
Can coffee improve memory?
Findings suggest the efficacy of Trigonelline derived from coffee in preventing and improving age-related spatial learning memory impairment
More news from our other portals
Research shows table salt could be the secret ingredient for better chemical recycling
Table salt as the key to the plastics recycling revolution?
Green, sweet and crisp - New apple variety Pia41 approved
The apple bred at the Julius Kühn Institute receives variety protection
Leipzig-based start-up converts CO₂ into green chemicals with patented plasma catalysis
CO₂ recycling as a useful complement to carbon capture and storage
Sugar: Small increase in production despite record prices
EU sugar market more than in need of reform to keep medium-sized processing companies competitive
Benchtop NMR spectroscopy can accurately analyse pyrolysis oils
More accessible analysis could help develop the potential of bio-oils as an alternative to fossil fuels
New battery holds promise for green energy
Redox-flow battery eliminates costly and inefficient membrane
A microchip for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano, p-Chip Corporation, and Kaasmerk Matec Partner to Launch Breakthrough in Food-Safe Digital Tracking Technology
Graphene discovery could help generate hydrogen cheaply and sustainably
Microscopic insights into electrochemical interfaces
A Second Life for Electric Car Batteries
Scientists develop a decision model for retired lithium-ion batteries
Scientists use quantum device to slow down simulated chemical reaction 100 billion times
What happens in femtoseconds in nature can now be observed in milliseconds in the lab
Major breakthrough in the development of electric vehicle batteries
New study finds ways to suppress lithium plating in automotive batteries for faster charging electric vehicles
Fondant under the magnifying glass
New insights into the properties of sweet coating: The results could be used to optimize the industrial production process in the future
World record: World's longest-range electric car comes from Munich
Electric car drives over 2500 kilometres on a single battery charge
Making plant-based meat more ‘meaty’ — with fermented onions
When fermented with specific type of fungus, normally pungent onions can produce the same sort of chemicals that make meats smell ‘meaty’
New ionic materials boost hydrogen fuel cell efficiency!
This breakthrough contributes to accelerating progress toward sustainable energy solutions in line with global efforts towards decarbonization
BASF and Nanotech Energy partner for lithium-ion batteries with locally recycled content in North America
BASF will be the first company in North America to provide cathode active materials produced with recycled metals on a commercial scale starting in 2024
Something is happening in the life science industry ...
This is what true pioneering spirit looks like: Plenty of innovative start-ups are bringing fresh ideas, lifeblood and entrepreneurial spirit to change tomorrow's world for the better. Immerse yourself in the world of these young companies and take the opportunity to get in touch with the founders.