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Swedish Algae Factory secures funding for commercialisation

Swedish Algae Factory has secured SEK 3.5 million (≈ EUR 360 000) in a new investment round and a SEK 1.7 million (≈ EUR 180 000) Swedish Energy Agency grant.

View of the algae cultivation facility with (left) Sofia Allert CEO (photo courtesy Swedish Algae Factory).

View of the algae cultivation facility with Sofia Allert (right) CEO (photo courtesy Swedish Algae Factory).

Swedish Algae Factory, a Swedish start-up company that is developing a novel algae cultivation and wastewater treatment system, has revealed that it has secured around SEK 3.5 million (≈ EUR 360 000) in a new investment round.

Chalmers Ventures, the start-up venture arm of Chalmers University of Technology and ALMI Invest, a Swedish venture capital, and business development agency have committed SEK 1.5 million (≈ EUR 155 000) each with the balance provided by KIC InnoEnergy, a Netherlands-based EU-supported seed capital company.

In addition, Swedish Algae Factory has been awarded a SEK 1.7 million (≈ EUR 180 000) grant from the Swedish Energy Agency.

The money will be used primarily for field tests on commercial solar panels we will do together with our first customers, consisting of solar panel distributors and electricity companies. It will also go towards running our existing smaller breeding plant, and the planning for building our larger, commercial plant, said Sofie Allert, CEO of the Swedish Algae Factory in a statement.

Novel solar, biomass and wastewater treatment concept

Founded in 2014, Swedish Algae Factory has its origins in Professor and co-founder Angela Wulff’s research at Chalmers on diatoms, unicellular algae with siliceous cell walls that also have a unique ability to capture light. When the nanoporous silicon material is placed on a solar photovoltaic (PV) cell, the efficiency of the PV cell increases by around 4 percent thus reducing the kWh cost of solar power.

The company has developed an energy-efficient algae production and harvesting process whereby wastewater treatment is combined with a production of algal biomass and the nanoporous solar efficiency-enhancing silica material. The biomass can be used to produce bio-oil and organic fertilizers.

Now the company faces the challenge of getting a final product to customers and accelerating production volume.

The company is still in a very early phase but the idea is exciting, and the commercial value of such a great improvement of solar panels is amazing. We have supported the Swedish Algae Factory early, and now we are committing a commercial verification of technology, said Tobias Elmquist, Investment Manager at Chalmers Ventures.

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