It will be based at British Sugar's Wissington site in Norfolk.
Pond Technologies Inc, which is supplying the system needed to grow the algae, signed a licensing agreement with AB Agri company, Livalta, last autumn in relation to setting up a viable algae-based feeds operation in the UK.
Pond’s technology is designed to take CO2 emissions out of the air to produce high value protein, and in a debrief to its shareholders on the project this week, the Canadian company confirmed that initial engineering work on the project has been completed.
Valerie Schuster, MD of Livalta, also commenting on the progress made to date on the algae project, said that despite the COVID-19 linked global supply chain challenges and having to work mostly remotely across continents and time zones the partners managed to hit a key production milestone to enable the pilot facility to go online in Q4 2022.
Pond’s demonstration system will be used to grow algae strains for animal feed trials. The plan, thereafter, is to construct an industrial-scale plant at the same site for production of commercial algae-derived feed ingredients, which will be sold by AB Agri.
The first product will be spirulina, combining 60% protein with essential vitamins and minerals. Spirulina, said the partners, is known for its nutritional and functional value both in food and animal feed.
Located in Markham, Ontario, Pond focuses on absorbing GHG emissions, transforming these into food, feed, and nutraceutical ingredients.
Its platform is based on AI, proprietary LED-lights and patented CO2 management. The use of concentrated CO2 from industrial waste streams, it claims, enables it to boost productivity of microalgae well beyond the capacity of outdoor algae growers and allows emitters to abate and ultimately recycle CO2. Its system bolts onto existing industrial facilities.
Payments to date
Pond's deal with AB Agri consists of two parts: a supply agreement involving the purchase an algae demonstration system from Pond for the sum of around CAD$2.9m and a license agreement, where Pond would receive up to CAD$2.6m in technology access fees and an ongoing royalty based on the production from commercial algae plants deployed in the future.
This week, it said that it has received around CAD$1.5m, to date, for initialization and milestone payments regarding the initial engineering work. Approximately CAD$4m in license and engineering, procurement and construction payments remain to be earned by the technology supplier.
Earlier this month, Pond revealed it has also entered into a research agreement with Livalta, and engineering firms, BioCarbN Inc and Cross River Infrastructure Partners, along with an unidentified agribusiness group, to find strains of algae that could help reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle when included into animal feed.
"We are extremely excited to sign this research agreement with BioCarbN, in collaboration with AB Agri and another forward-thinking major agriculture company," said Pond CEO, Grant Smith. "We believe this is just the start in capturing a significant opportunity to help in reducing emissions from cattle globally. The global cattle feed market is over US$75bn annually and this represents another step towards commercializing our algae growth platform into globally important markets, across numerous applications."