A Scottish biotechnology company has received £1m to help turn waste from the whisky distilling process into animal feed.
MiAlgae is targeting the fast-growing global aquaculture and pet food industries by producing micro-algae, according to a report in Daily Business.
The Edinburgh company estimates that one tonne of its algae saves up to 30 tonnes of wild fish.
The investment comes from previous investors in MiAlgae – Equity Gap, Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capital – alongside Hillhouse Group, a new investor in the business.
MiAlgae will use the funds to double the size of its premises, commission a demonstrator plant in East Lothian and add five staff in the next 12 months.
Andrew Vernon, of Hillhouse Group said: “MiAlgae has essentially taken a by-product from one industry and turned it into a solution for another industry.
Through the application of biotechnology, MiAlgae is finding solutions to feed the world’s population and, with the global aquaculture industry set to double in size in the next 10years, this is a very promising business indeed.”
According to Fraser Lusty, investment director at Equity Gap: “Since our last investment in MiAlgae 18 months ago, the business has achieved a great deal, designing and building its pilot plant, making its first sales to a premium dog food company, and beginning production with its first large scale tank.”
The business is now focusing on commercialisation and scaling up, with plans to supply customers in both the pet food market and the aquacultural industry in the next 12 months.
“This is an exciting business, and one to watch over the next couple of years,” said Fraser Lusty.
Daily Business reported that MiAlgae was founded by Douglas Martin in 2016 while studying biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. He is supported by Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s commercialisation service, which also manages Old College Capital, the University’s venture fund.
He said: “I am really pleased that with this investment. We can turn our attention to growing the business. We plan to target the pet food and aquaculture industries with our sustainable, ocean-friendly, algae-derived omega 3.
“I am proud that we operate as part of the circular economy where, by using a low value co-product from the whisky industry, we are creating a valuable supply of nutrients for the animal and fish food industries, thereby using the planet’s resources more efficiently. There is no doubt we will see a rapidly growing market for our product.”
The global aquaculture market is valued at $70bn, according to Daily Business, and set to increase by 100% by 2030.