German chemical company Evonik and Dutch biotech DSM will locate the commercial-scale production facility for their omega-3 fatty acids from natural marine algae for animal nutrition in Blair, Nebraska. DSM Nutritional Products and Evonik Nutrition & Care plan to invest around US$ 200 million in the facility (US$ 100 million by each party over circa 2 years). The initial annual production capacity will meet roughly 15% of the current total annual demand for EPA and DHA (stand for eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid respectively) by the salmon aquaculture industry. The facility is expected to come on stream in 2019. The establishment of the joint venture, to be named Veramaris® and headquartered in The Netherlands, will be finalized subject to regulatory approvals.
According to the companies, Blair, Nebraska was chosen as it takes advantage of Evonik’s decades of operational experience for large-scale biotechnology operations. The company has been operating a facility there for the fermentative production of Biolys® – the amino acid L-lysine – for almost 20 years. As an investor and employer Evonik has built a consistent reputation in the local community. The new plant will be located adjacent to Evonik’s current facility on Cargill’s site, with established access to the raw materials needed to produce the high value and pure EPA+DHA omega-3 fatty acid oil.
Both companies announced in March 2017 the start of a joint venture for this purpose. It will, for the first time, allow for the production of omega-3 fatty acids for animal nutrition without using any fish oil from wild caught fish, a finite resource. Initial applications will be in salmon aquaculture and pet food.
DSM’s and Evonik’s highly concentrated algal oil will enable the animal nutrition industry to keep up with the increasing demand for these two essential omega-3 fatty acids without endangering fish stocks, helping to contribute to healthy animal nutrition as well as to the ecological balance and biodiversity of the oceans.
Until the facility in Blair opens, DSM and Evonik will produce pilot-scale quantities of the algal oil at DSM’s production facility in Kingstree, South Carolina (United States). Customers will be able to receive sizeable quantities of the product for market development while the construction of the new manufacturing plant gets underway.