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It was an untimely bloom of sea algae that sparked MiAlgae founder Douglas Martin’s award-winning low carbon business idea. Here, talks us through his innovation and how ECCI helped transform it from an exciting concept to a budding enterprise.

Since joining our EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator programme, MiAlgae has been on a roll. The start-up has won three awards including a Scottish Enterprise SMART: SCOTLAND grant and a Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award, and taken on three new staff members. The company recently won funding from Innovate UK to part-fund its first commercial facility.

Tell us a bit about your product.

MiAlgae uses waste water to grow microalgae that can be turned into feed for livestock and commercially farmed fish. It means we can replace the practice of mincing up other small fish to put into animal feed.

Are there any other benefits?

Yes, our microalgae is naturally rich in healthy Omegas, so it increases these levels in farmed salmon. It’s the Omegas that make oil-rich fish, like salmon, good for you. Using waste water cuts costs, plus our process allows us to clean the water we use before recycling it.

So what was the lightbulb moment that led to MiAlgae being born?

I was working in the North Sea when a big algal bloom halted our work for months. It got me thinking about how we could put that algae to better use.

What role has ECCI played in MiAlgae’s journey?

The support we’ve had from ECCI as part of the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator, and before that the Ideas Lab, has been brilliant. Especially in terms of networking. It’s helped us move forward with developing our waste water contacts and finding a supplier.

We also got help from a student funded through the NERC internship programme run by ECCI. They did invaluable work researching sources of wastewater.

“The Climate-KIC Accelerator has been a great platform for MiAlgae - helping us create a defined business model and some very valuable relationships.” Douglas Martin, MiAlgae Founder

Where next for MiAlgae?

The aquaculture feed industry is worth £17 billion globally, and this is projected to double in the next 15 years. Our hope is to create a large-scale, low cost microalgae production company.

“We want to start selling globally In the next five years. Our key focus initially is Scotland and Europe, followed by North America and China. Scotland’s a great place to be, and we’re planning to take on the world from here.” Douglas Martin, MiAlgae founder

Inspired by Douglas' story?

The EIT Climate-KIC programme at ECCI might be able to help you launch your own low carbon business.