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A fresh take on research infrastructure:
microalgae facility for hire

With the help of the Alliance, Kalundborg Utility will put its state-of-the-art microalgae cultivation test facility to new use.
Alliance partners will help to come up with new concepts and potential users to carry on the work in experimental algal cultivation.

The company

Kalundborg Utility A/S operates a microalgae testing and production facility close to Kalundborg harbour. The town of Kalundborg is situated in north-western Zealand, Denmark, about 90 minutes drive from Copenhagen and Kastrup International Airport. Its location gives Kalundborg Utility access to different types of waters (such as industrial waste waters, municipal waste waters, fresh water and sea water) as well as easy access to the EU-wide transport network.

The microalgae facility’s main building is a 10m high, 320m2 greenhouse. There is also a separate, three-storey combined control room and a small laboratory facility overlooking the algae greenhouse. The greenhouse contains ten separate algae-reactors, each with a capacity of 4000 litres. These can be operated separately or in various combinations of units, allowing for the possibility of operating all ten reactors as a single unit. Two are of the latest glass-tubular design, supplied by Ecoduna in Austria – the other eight are of the more traditional vertical plastic-unit design. This state-of-the-art facility is further equipped with all the relevant algae test and production technology. The process in any reactor can be logged and monitored online with the additional possibility of observation via webcam. The entire greenhouse or individual reactors can be heated to a specified temperature and light supply can be regulated as needed: daylight with direct sunlight, light-blocking curtains and LED lighting are all on hand.

The idea

Kalundborg Utility would like to take over the facility (which is currently owned by Kalundborg Municipality) and ensure its continued operation. The aim is for the microalgae cultivation facility to be used as a test and research facility for product development by various actors from around the Baltic Sea. The facility’s access to a variety of water types offers potential users great flexibility in the range of tests that can be undertaken here – e.g. cultivation tests in various environmental conditions.

Kalundborg Utility is also prepared to offer a range of flexible solutions for rental and usage agreements tailored to the client’s specific needs. It would continue to provide heating and lighting for the facility, and its ISO9001-certified technical staff could support the running of the facility for a tenant company. Subject to agreement, it would be possible to hire one or several of the algae reactors and make varying arrangements for tests, production and day-to-day operating. A further possibility would be for the client’s own staff members to conduct the work themselves, following agreed specifications, training and instruction in the relevant operating procedures. All potential IPR-issues would be addressed in separate arrangements and non-disclosure agreements.

Made-to-measure usage agreements are an exciting possibility of ensuring a future for our state-of-the-art microalgae test and cultivation facility

  • Case owner quote

    Preben Thisgaard

    Kalundborg Utility

The allies

For the investment to go ahead, Kalundborg Utility needs more information about the appeal of the facility to potential clients. What type(s) of organisation could it attract? Could it be run as a business? What scenario would make for a reasonable rental agreement and secure a future for the facility? The company needs expertise at a broad level and the relevant documentation in order to answer these questions. It also needs access to research institutions and companies that might be interested in renting the facility.

This is where the Alliance comes in. The Danish Technological Institute and the SUBMARINER Network for Blue Growth have taken on the case of Kalundborg Utility’s algae cultivation facility as case mentors. They can supply both the technical expertise and the broad network needed for the task. The Alliance will make use of its network of actors from around the BSR to identify the types of organisation that would benefit from access to the facility. Not only enabling target group research, the aim is to connect Kalundborg’s facility with its first rental clients and to help it establish a sustainable business model. Being quick off the mark will be worth it for potential clients: the company has offered to let out its facility at cost-coverage rate during the course of the Alliance project. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone wishing to use a first-rate microalgae test facility!

photos: Kalundborg Utility A/S (greenhouse) / Line Kongsted (profile picture)