It was in late spring 2021 when the Hirtshals biorefinery was announced as part of a double-digit EUR million investment for biomega®. AMERRA Capital Management, Natixis Investment Managers, Mirova Natural Capital, amongst several of our founding members all invested to continue to support sustainable nutrition and seafood production for the human and pet health markets.
However, it wasn’t until October 2021 when we received the greenlight from the Danish Ministry of Environment and Hjørring Municipality that the biomega® team could start on construction. During the time in between the announcement and confirmation of permits, our Chief Technology Officer Andrew Dustan and his engineering team were designing the blueprints for the factory and working alongside NCC in the initial few months to ensure the infrastructure had adequate load-bearing capacity and was structurally sound.
By the end of 2021, the foundations, drains and in-situ cast concrete walls were in place and the biorefinery was standing at just 8 metres in height. By January 2022, the decks over the bottling rooms for both liquid and powder products were complete, and the floor castings were ready to be laid.
Despite heavy demand on the supply chain for resources and a difficult winter in the region, Andrew was confident that his team would be ready to place the last beam on top of the construction by February as part of our topping-out ceremony. This mile-stone achievement was completed on 20th January 2022, with several of our suppliers and customers invited to the event to honour the hard work from the engineering team on the project.
By early spring, our engineering team with the support of NCC had constructed the first floor of the factory and installed 100 tonnes of machinery on the ground floor, by way of hoist through the roof and via the side of the building. The second floor was then kitted out with office space before the roof and side panels were installed.
Andrew commented on the build, «I’m delighted to say that our engineering team has completed all works by August 2022 as planned. From design to implementation, their commitment has been commendable during such unstable times in relation to the supply chain and energy crises – as for a short period, this resulted in rationing of concrete supplies. It was a pleasure to work on such a major project at biomega® and I’m incredibly proud of our team’s unique ability to adapt our original biotechnology process from our Bergen site to a much more energy efficient biorefinery with next-generation technology at Hirtshals.»
The team launched initial tests at the facility by processing salmon through enzymatic hydrolysis in early August, with a view to officially starting production of its new salmon peptide range – SalMe Peptides – by Autumn this year.
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