Two French companies, Suez and Fermentalg, have created a 50/50 joint venture named CarbonWorks, aimed at accelerating the development and sale of solutions for the capture and bioconversion of CO2 (Carbon Capture and Utilization, or CCU) by microalgae photosynthesis.
CarbonWorks is positioning itself to become a major player in the ecological transition with its intensive microalgae photosynthesis systems. The long-term plan calls for capturing several thousand tons of CO2 annually at the source of emission. It will, correspondingly, produce equivalent quantities of algae biomass intended for agricultural biocontrol, biopesticides, bioproteins, and the human and animal food markets. Thus, within the circular economy template, it offers industries the ability to recover their CO2 emissions in bioproducts while also reducing the environmental footprint of common agricultural products.
CarbonWorks benefits from the expertise of a previous partnership between Suez and Fermentalg in 2015. In this iteration, the company will have access to Fermentalg’s biological library (more than 2,300 microalgae strains), access to specific CO2 sources from Suez sites and/or customers, a portfolio of six patent families and a team of experts from the two groups.
First industrial demonstrator in 2021
The new company will roll out its first demonstration plant at the Pot-Au-Pin Énergie site in Cestas (Gironde, France) in the third quarter of 2021. The pilot project will be used to capture the CO2 from an agricultural methanation unit and convert it into products, such as a natural fungicide for vines.
“In creating CarbonWorks, we chose an independent structure that could combine the agility of a start-up with the substantial legacy of all the work undertaken these past five years as part of the Fermentalg-Suez partnership,” said Philippe Lavielle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fermentalg. “Our ambition is to put the full power of microalgae at the service of industrial decarbonation by offering disruptive technological solutions adaptable to various industrial configurations.”
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