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Vattenfall and AstaReal sign energy recovery contract

In Sweden, Vattenfall Heat, part of energy major Vattenfall Group, and biopharma company AstaReal AB, part of the AstaReal Group, which is owned by Japan's Fuji Chemical Industries, have signed sign comprehensive energy recovery and service contract. Excess heat from AstaReal's algae cultivation in Gustavsberg will be recovered to heat households in Gustavsberg.

In Sweden, AstaReal AB and Vattenfall Heat have signed a comprehensive energy recovery and service contract. Excess heat from AstaReal’s algae cultivation in Gustavsberg, southeast Stockholm will be recovered to heat households in Gustavsberg. Peter Worsöe (left), CEO of AstaReal, and Lovisa Fricot Norén, Head of Vattenfall Heat (photo courtesy Vattenfall).

AstaReal produces astaxanthin, a naturally occurring red pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids, from algae grown in bioreactors on a large scale. The substance has been sold under the Astaxin trademark since 1995.

AstaReal, in Gustavsberg, is the first company in the world to produce the substance astaxanthin successfully on a large scale. It’s used as a nutritional supplement for both humans and animals in Sweden and globally. Production takes place through the cultivation of algae in unique bioreactors. The process is energy-intensive and therefore we’re committed to the most efficient use of electricity and cooling. Our extended partnership with Vattenfall fully aligns with our ambition to grow the algae as sustainably as possible and to be a positive force in society with a circular business, said Peter Worsöe, CEO of AstaReal.

Vattenfall and AstaReal are expanding their cooperation to recover excess heat from AstaReal’s algae cultivation. The idea is to be able to meet the heating requirements corresponding to 2 500 new apartments in Gustavsberg near Stockholm through the new partnership.

AstaReal’s production process is energy-intensive and requires both electricity and cooling. The excess heat that arises will be available for use for heating homes and premises. From spring 2022, Gustavsberg residents will have more than 20 percent of their heating requirements covered through this solution, said Lovisa Fricot Norén, Head of Vattenfall Heat in Sweden.

Supply renewable power as a service and recover excess heat

As part of the new energy contract, a customized solution with reversible heat pumps will be installed at AstaReal’s plant in Gustavsberg. This solution makes it possible to efficiently recover excess heat from the production process.

In total, over 15 GWh of heat per year is estimated to be recovered and reused in the local district heating network in Gustavsberg.

In addition to the heating contract, Vattenfall will also continue to own and manage high-voltage installations such as transformers and switchgear, as well as supplying climate-neutral electricity.

The heat pump plant is being upgraded with a new and much more climate-friendly refrigerant (R1234zee) than in previous solutions.

We look forward to expanding our partnership with AstaReal, who will be a pioneer with this new technical solution that allows for connection to the district heating network. We’re proud to be able to support AstaReal’s ambition to find more fossil-free solutions, while at the same time they’re able to transfer all responsibility for the plant’s heat recovery through us owning, managing, and ensuring its function, said Torbjörn Johansson, Head of Vattenfall Network Solutions in Sweden.

“SamEnergi” is Vattenfall’s concept for transferring surplus heat from industries, data centres, and other heat-producing facilities to the district heating network. Vattenfall Network Solutions offers energy solutions within the Power-as-a-Service concept, where Vattenfall takes full financial and functional responsibility for its customers’ high-voltage installations, charging infrastructure solutions, or batteries.

Since 1995, Vattenfall has been supplying AstaReal with hydroelectric power, which is environmentally declared in line with the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD).

AstaReal produces astaxanthin, a naturally occurring red pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids, from algae grown in bioreactors on a large scale. The substance has been sold under the Astaxin trademark since 1995 (photo courtesy AstaReal).

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