Omega 3 is an essential nutrient for life, and concentrated Omega 3 made from fish oil is used in a range of supplements for humans and animals. Currently 16 million tonnes of fish are used to make fish oil annually, and this high demand for Omega-3 is outstripping our limited wild supplies, contributing to the devastating impact of industrial fishing on Earth's oceans. Alternative vegan sources of Omega 3 have historically come with their own environmental impacts through their high water requirements, and the cost of producing such alternatives has limited their applicability.
MiAlgae avoids these pitfalls in our production of algae for Omega 3, by utilising distillery waste from Scotland's thriving whisky industry. Currently Scotland's whisky industry produces 2 billion litres of waste each year, the disposal of which is costly. By using distillery waste as a growth medium for algae, MiAlgae is able to produce a sustainable, affordable alternative to fish-sourced Omega 3, all while creating value for local distilleries and supporting Scotland's transition to a localised circular economy.
#oceans #foodwaste #localisation
There are 134 distilleries in Scotland, producing 2 billion litres of waste annually, which must be transported away from the distilleries and treated before disposal, at great cost to the distilleries. Mialgae aims to set up our Algae bioreactors on-site at distilleries, making both production of algae and whisky more efficient, saving our partner distilleries the cost of transporting their waste and reducing it's CO2 impact.
At the other end of our operation we will work with local pet food and fish feed producers. For example, we will support Scotland's farmed salmon industry by eliminating the need to purchase expensive feed supplements from large global suppliers, and instead connect them with local distilleries, strengthening the local economy and reducing their environmental impact.
Our localised production model means that wherever MiAlgae sets up production, local materials, knowledge, and relationships will remain at the heart of our business.
Approximately 90% of the world stocks are overexploited or fully depleted and therefore cannot act as a sustainable source of Omega 3. Fish themselves acquire Omega-3 through their consumption of Algae, and so a huge amount of wild-caught fish are currently processed into feed to supply farmed fish with Omega-3. MiAlgae essentially cuts out the middleman, or middle-fish, so that humans, pets, and farmed fish can consume this essential nutrient without fish. One tonne of MiAlgae’s omega-3 rich algae saves 30 tonnes of wild fish, and our current demonstrator site will be able to save 12k tonnes of fish a year at full production. In the future, an on-site production facility at a distillery would save 51k tonnes a year, which if implemented at 10% of Scottish distilleries could save up to 663k tonnes a year. This would help relieve pressure on the Earth's ocean ecosystems, allowing its fish populations to recover.
The elimination of waste is evident in the use of distillery waste in production, which both adds value to a waste product and eliminates the CO2 emissions that result from its disposal. Furthermore, MiAlgae is working on a process to return clean water from the Algae production, which could be used in the distillery again. Through this process a single distillery site would recycle 14.4m litres of water a year, and if applied to 10% of the Scottish distilleries this would save 187.2M litres of water per year.