21 Nov Meet AgPitch18 Finalist, GreatAlga
Posted by Andrew Rose, MidAtlantic Farm Credit on LinkedIn
There is a way to give consumers the opportunity to eat what they want while making the meat and dairy they consume an even healthier choice. Extensive research and testing have proven that the addition of algae to feed stock improves the health and productivity of a wide range of animals at all life stages, and those advantages can continue up the food chain.
The issue is that growing algae in outdoor ponds can be inefficient, subject to inhospitable weather, invasive species and microscopic predators.
GreatAlga (GA) is staged with its academic and industry partners to solve the challenges in growing algae efficiently for the agricultural market. GreatAlga LLC is a Maryland-based startup dedicated to growing algae in bioreactors to optimize quality and cost. GA’s three principals have built their professional reputations elsewhere within the industry through years of experience in growing algae in bioreactors, using photosynthesis to mitigate CO2 (and other greenhouse gases).
This is why we were approached by an agricultural industry leader who had developed a process to incorporate algae into livestock feed to produce a healthier animal. Data from universities (and certified labs and vetted by the USDA) have validated that algae-treated feed not only improves animal health, performance and reproduction, it also:
• Reduces cholesterol content
• Reduces or eliminates the use of antibiotics
• Reduces inflammation
• Reduces methane emissions with better digestion
• Improves animal physiology
GreatAlga’s role is to grow healthy algae using our own process – quickly, and in volume at regional algae feed facilities that we helped design. Consumers will benefit from meat and dairy products when algae is a part of daily animal ration nutrition, Algae can be used as a source of consumer protein, as well as in the dairy and pet food markets to improve world-wide consumer health by balancing their Omega 6 to 3 ratio through daily protein consumption.
GreatAlga has a long relationship with the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the Institute of Marine & Environmental Technology(IMET), which continue to work with GA to maximize Omega 3 in the chosen algae strain and further isolate other strains to optimize O-3 production.
GA also has commitments from other providers in construction, engineering, algal growth and harvest at commercial scale, financial and business modeling. Algae hold great promise in the near term to fundamentally change America’s energy and agriculture portfolio, sequestering or converting atmospheric CO2 into market ready products. GA’s knowledge of market trends has put it well ahead of the curve within the algae industry. At the Algae Biomass Organization’s global algae summit held in Houston in October, the ABO emphasized agriculture over the production of bio-fuel production for the first time with the creation of the ABO Future of Algae for Food and Feed Initiative. With its industry background and the combined support and expertise of our partners, GreatAlga will grow algae to commercial volume using approximately 40 bioreactors of our own design. A site at an existing grain mill has been selected for the pilot project. GA has begun a strategic plan to create a nationwide network of algae feed facilities throughout the United States to introduce Omega 3- based algae to the North American meat industry.