Microalgae producer Duplaco expands into new location with 20 times more production capacity
"Our long term ambition is to be producing 100 times more than we are now”
Chlorella producer and microalgae wholesaler Duplaco, Foodvalley Member is investing heavily to increase production, initially to twenty times more than now. Such substantial growth needs a bigger space, so they are moving their production environment from Hengelo to Oldenzaal. Upgrading with the latest technology and a modern research & development centre, the company is forging ahead, from a promising startup to a full-scale industrial complex. This will make Duplaco the largest algae producer in Europe and a global player in novel solutions to the world food shortage.
The time to invest is now
In the short term, the Oldenzaal location should increase production yields by a factor of twenty. Duplaco founder Marcel Oogink’s vision, however, stretches well beyond that: "The aim is to produce 100 times more, within five years. That actually means an increase from 15 tons per year to 300 tons per year of microalgae, a high-quality food supplement in fresh and solid form." It is also an achievable ambition according to Oogink: "The explosion in demand for meat substitutes and the imminent shortage of raw materials for vegetable proteins, give us the green light to take this step. We are also not dependent on sunlight or large tracts of farmland and therefore need less production space. In addition, we are at the forefront of innovative production techniques. Partly due to the contacts we have with knowledge institutions such as Wageningen University, we can continuously optimize our innovation process."
Microalgae: an answer to resource scarcity
The demand for meat substitutes seems unstoppable. On Saturday 4 January, the Financieele Dagblad reported that business forecasts from Barclays Bank indicate the worldwide turnover of meat substitutes is likely to rise to $140 billion in ten years’ time. The downside is that this will lead to a scarcity of raw materials, resulting in an increase in soy protein prices. Marcel Oogink sees the (heterotrophic) cultivation of algae as one of the answers to this unavoidable shortage of raw materials: "With a protein content of approximately 65%, Duplaco microalgae are the sustainable food ingredients alternative to, for example, less sustainable soy and meat products. I believe that algae will deliver on their sustainability promise at a rapid pace in the coming years. That's why now is the right time for us to scale up production.”
More customization for clients
In the near future, Duplaco will start custom-making algae to customer specifications. The move to Oldenzaal brings this possibility within reach: "We have already created custom-made products in our Research & Development Centre in Hengelo using metabolic engineering, strain selection and bioaccumulation techniques. The new R&D Center in Oldenzaal offers us the space to invest in more and better customization for producers of foods and animal feed."
Excellent taste contributes to a good reputation
Thanks to our sophisticated cultivation process, Duplaco has built up a good reputation in the food industry as a producer of microalgae. "And we owe this, in part, to the excellent taste of both fresh and powdered algae. You’ll find our algae in many different foods, such as vegan burgers, pasta and bread. Once we are in the new location, there’ll be nothing to stop us expanding even further. Production and range upscaling means we will be able to supply even more (international) food manufacturers with microalgae, either as a functional ingredient in meat substitutes or as a supplement."