Algal carbon capture startup raises €1.3 million

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 January 2023, at 10:30am

Algiecel, a Danish startup that aims to use microalgae to capture carbon, has raised DKK 10m (€1.3m) in combined funding from Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund, a UK-based family fund and private individuals.

a team photo beside a shipping container
The Algiecel team celebrates the investment

The new funds will be used to help optimise its algae-based carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technology © Algiecel

Algiecel’s technology links CO2 utilisation to the feed and food industry. After having successfully initiated its pilot plant in 2022, the startup will allocate the new funds towards optimisation of its algae-based carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) technology, in a bid to create further commercial interest in the high-value biomass products, as well as in a design project of the first full-scale demonstration unit.

Algiecel uses natural microalgae organisms, a highly compact and high-yield photobioreactor technology fitted into standard containers and a revenue-sharing business model to offer carbon capture as a service to industrial clients. The produced products are intended to be applied in the feed, food and cosmetics industry.

In the beginning of 2022, Algiecel was accepted into the BioInnovation Institute’s Venture Lab programme, and some important milestones were achieved during 2022. Algiecel finalised the design and construction of its pilot plant, and a collaboration agreement with Danish Technical Institute (TI) was signed. The pilot plant is in operation at TI’s premises in Taastrup, Denmark. The pilot technology has yielded strong initial results, seeing a major productivity increase from the initial test run in Q3 2022 to the start of 2023.

Additionally, European Union React grant and Innobooster grant funding totalling DKK 3m (€0.4m) has been obtained for the basic design of the first full-scale demonstration unit and pilot lab-scale downstream processing and shelf-life testing, respectively​. On the commercial side, interest in the technology and the opportunity has been positive, demonstrated by letters of interest signed by potential technology clients and by potential buyers of the algae-based derivative products.

With the newly raised funds Algiecel is looking to switch its focus from pilot operations only into completing the full-scale design, as well as initiating algae-product application trials with potential clients and research institutes already identified. Moreover, building additional interest from potential future clients in the CCU technology will be an important focus area, and thus securing additional funding for the upcoming demonstration full-scale project will be key to the future development of Algiecel and the technology.

Henrik Busch-Larsen, founder and CEO of Algiecel, commented in a press release: “We are very pleased and excited about the trust put in Algiecel, the team and the technology by such a well-renowned institution as Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund. Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund has underlined the need for companies to get on board with the sustainability agenda, and we will do our utmost to deliver good results in 2023, and we want to be measured upon our ability to do so!”

Valdemar Engel, senior investment associate, Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund, added: ”We are enthused about our support of Algiecel. Algiecel is an exciting company with a sustainable mindset, and the business has demonstrated an impressive amount of traction over a short span of time. Denmark holds a position of strength within the field of creating novel sustainable solutions, a position that we in Denmark’s Export and Investment Fund pride ourselves in furthering, and Algiecel’s photobioreactor is a perfect fit. The investment in Algiecel supports the fund’s goal in furthering the green transition through sustainable solutions. The team of Algiecel is poised to execute, and we look forward to being part of the journey ahead.”