November 30, 2021

ALGATEC welcomes entrepreneurs applicants for the Blue Bio Value program

Source: a4f

A4F received startups linked to the marine bioeconomy sector at ALGATEC Eco Business Park

Cultural change is difficult, but it is no longer possible, intelligent or economically viable to project the future turning our backs to the sea. In addition to cod, sardines or sun and beach tourism, the sea represents an immense capital, whose resources must, however, be exploited in a sustainable way.

The Blue Bio Value program seeks to accelerate the transition to a blue economy, which is also made up of algae, sensors and salt. The future of the economy is "bio" and, therefore, there would be no better reason to select the ALGATEC Eco Business Park, on the banks of the Tagus, in Póvoa de Santa Iria, for field visits by entrepreneurs who are candidates for that program promoted by the Oceano Azul Foundation and by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, in partnership with the Blue Bio Alliance.

By the way, last November 18th, Blue Bio Value, an initiative launched in 2018 and aimed at startups in the marine bioeconomy, not only facilitated the knowledge of the facilities of ALGATEC - park resulting from a partnership between A4F Algae for Future, Green Aqua Póvoa and HyChem, which hosts companies and entrepreneurial projects in the algae and microalgae sector. The fieldtrips also included the Biocant Park, in Cantanhade, where Biotrend, a company of the A4F group, develops, optimizes and increases the scale of microbial fermentation processes in the areas of marine and industrial biotechnology.

The entrepreneurs of the 17 projects, four of which Portuguese, which reached the final phase of the fourth edition of Blue Bio Value, were able to meet companies and research centers operating in the area of the blue bioeconomy, and directly contact some of their managers.

At ALGATEC, the briefing was given by Edgar Santos, Executive Director of A4F with the responsibility for Engineering and Industrial Projects, and the visit to the laboratory, Eco Business Park and the biorefinery was conducted by Luís Costa, Executive Director of A4F for Operations and Business Development. Networking opportunities that the nearly 50 participants did not waste in the dialogue held throughout the morning.

80 applications from 28 countries

For seven weeks – five remote and two in person, in Portugal – the entrepreneurs had access to national and international mentors and training in different areas, such as biotechnology, management, access to finance, marketing and communication or legal advice.

The startups that stand out the most during the acceleration will be awarded with a value of 45 thousand euros and, among 80 applications from 28 countries, the program will be able to distinguish:

BOTL, which designs, builds and installs artificial "reefs" enabling the recovery of damaged marine ecosystems;

Fhair, which uses Ria Formosa Sea salt in hygiene products;

N9ve, whose project uses green macroalgae to recover neodymium from permanent magnets and thus produce neodymium oxide, used in the manufacture of both glass for TV screens and lasers for high-powered equipment;

Sensefinity, which created a network of intelligent sensors to identify fish and monitor temperature, humidity and movement;

– Or Seatrients, for developing a nutritious instant drink from seaweed.

The Blue Bio Value program has already accelerated 42 companies of 15 nationalities. In four editions, the Oceano Azul Foundation and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation invested a total of two million euros, helping three international startups to be based in Portugal.

Bioeconomy: sustainable alternative

The traditional sectors of the blue economy, such as fisheries, tourism, maritime transport, shipbuilding and the exploitation of energy resources already represent 1.5% of the Gross GDP of the European Union and directly employ 4.7 million people. But emerging sectors such as renewable energy, biotechnology and the bioeconomy are creating new opportunities.

Algae (macro and micro), bacteria, fungi and invertebrates are among the most important marine resources used as a raw material in the blue bioeconomy, for a variety of commercial applications, including food and food supplements, animal feed, cosmetics, fertilizers and biostimulants plants and innovative commercial uses such as biomaterials, bioremediation or biofuels. And every year hundreds of new marine compounds are discovered, reflecting the innovative nature and potential of this industry.