Dedication, passion and a lifelong interest are often the foundations of phenomenal success. Ingmar Hogoy, Founder & CEO of Greentech Innovators documents how his environmentally friendly organisation now leads the way in circular economy within aquaculture.
The proverb, ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’ puts forward the idea that successful enterprises or innovative new concepts have roots in modest beginnings. It is intended to be an encouragement to persist – over time, something which may be considered as minor or insignificant can be built on to achieve a miraculous end goal.
Greentech Innovators, borne out of the curiosity, interest and inventiveness of a 12 year old boy spending the long summer holidays with his grandparents and sharing a love of small scale farming and fishing, epitomises the accuracy of the proverb. Today, Bergen based, Greentech Innovators is a market leader, working with national and international experts, research communities and innovators to lead the way in identifying sustainable solutions within the circular bio-economy.
With biowaste as a main focus, Greentech Innovators’ mission is to give waste a value – the sustainable reuse of organic waste as a valuable resource for food and feed production, whilst contributing to a greener environment through the reduction of greenhouse gases from landfills and industry.
Ingmar Hogoy, CEO and Founder of Greentech Innovators and its daughter company, AlgaePro AS reflects on how his childhood passion for investigating aquaculture not only led to a fascinating career, but paved the way to a career pioneering new techniques within the fields of fish farming, aquaculture and the environment.
Your entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore when you were very young. Could you tell us more about this, and give us a brief timeline of how your career developed?
I was brought up with an awareness of traditional small scale farming and fishing, but spending time with my grandparents at their island home gave me an insight into marine life. At 12 years of age I was growing microalga in an aquarium using fertiliser for growth, at 13 I made a small pond near the house, catching wild trout fry for farming. Two years later I started fish farming with rainbow trout in a home made fish cage located on a small lake.My career journey has enabled me to investigate and develop many innovative environmental techniques within the aquaculture, fisheries and marine industries, culminating in the establishment of both Greentech Innovators AS and AlgaePro AS. The latter, our wholly owned subsidiary, resulted from ‘Hatch’ an international accelerator project investing in outstanding start-ups to develop their potential in solving important global environmental issues. AlgaePro AS was selected as the only Norwegian company to take part in the initial cohort of the programme in 2018. Today Greentech Innovators and Algae Pro AS aim to be the first large scale producer of growing and utilising microalgae for the fish feed market via a sustainable circular economy business model.
The fundamental vision of Greentech Innovators is to ‘give waste a value,’ achieved by creating opportunities for reuse. Could you explain how waste has a potential to become an important resource and how your organisation offers innovative sustainable solutions the environment and economy can benefit from?
We believe there’s huge potential for producing microalgae for a range of products, including agriculture fertilizer, food and nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biofuel and bioplastics.
However, initially our main focus area features on extracting valuable nutrients – nitrates and phosphates which are essential ingredients in fertilisers for cultivating microalgae – via various fermentation methods. In turn, microalgae will be sold as an Omega-3 supplement to fish feed for agriculture, something which is high demand.
Our next phase will source other forms of organic waste suitable for reuse in the circular bioeconomy value chain instead of being incinerated or disposed of in landfills. Landfills create large volumes of harmful methane gases, and incineration of organic waste is inefficient owing to a high water content. As from 2023 this will be banned in Norway, Furthering our aim ‘to give waste a value’ extracting sludge from aquaculture, faeces from insect farms and bio-waste from beer brewing are environmentally friendly techniques geared around recycling and reusing such waste products.
From an environmental perspective, the use of Greentech Innovators and AlgaePro AS’ pioneering technology has a huge benefit. Are there any other advantages and could you give us an indication as to its market potential?
Microalgae have great potential as an alternative source of marine protein and oils. The growing feed market demands high production at low prices, and appropriate technology for large scale cultivation of microalgae, to date, has not been fully optimised. We believe our technology will pave the way for the commercial cultivation of microalgae from waste streams for fish feed and other specialised aquacultures, enabling countries with colder climates and sufficient clean energy to sustainably grow microalgae for their industries.
As the global aquaculture market continues to grow, demand for sustainable microalgae will similarly increase. Estimations would indicate that revenues are forecasted to exceed $75 million by 2026. AlgaePro AS has been selected to join the EU’s EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator and plans to be the first to launch its products to solve microalgae cultivation in the north of the country. It’s an exciting project in a rewarding space, and we are proud to be seen as global innovators in a rapidly expanding market.
Your dedication and passion for the aquaculture industry from such a young age is surely a key factor to the success of Greentech Innovators and AlgaePro AS. Do you think this experience has helped your organisation to lead the way in its innovative technologies?
Yes, undoubtedly. Waste management challenges remain the same in terms of quality, logistics and efficient processing, but developing new markets and documenting the benefits for the customers builds on networks and communications established over many years. It’s a multidisciplinary field requiring the expertise of extremely high calibre professionals within both academia and the aquaculture industry.
Whilst we at Greentech and AlgaePro AS are fortunate to collaborate and partner with industry experts across a diverse range of environmental industries, I would say that true success results from being dedicated to your vision, not giving up at the first hurdle but pursuing your dream to its ultimate end goal.
Greentech Innovators, together with AlgaePro AS recognise the importance for an efficient circular bio economy which will contribute to a healthy and sustainable way of life for us all. For contact details and further information on current projects, technology and industry sectors the organisation works within, please visit: