MACRO CASCADE project: funding awarded to prove a novel seaweed biorefinery

23 November 2016

A consortium of European companies and research institutions have obtained funding to advance the blue bioeconomy through innovative scalable seaweed cultivation and novel biorefinery development.

The project MACRO CASCADE has received a €4,2 million funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 720755.

The main objective of the project is to prove the concept of the cascading marine macroalgal biorefinery. This is a production platform that covers the whole technological value chain for processing sustainable cultivated macroalgae biomass – also known as seaweed - to highly processed value added products such as health promoting feed and food supplements (with documented effect on immune system on both animals and humans), prebiotics, antibiotic agents, anionic polymers, and chemicals for paint, cosmetic and detergent formulations.

Sustainable, large-scale cultivation of seaweed is under-exploited in Europe. Directed efforts in utilising the same biomass for multiple value added streams can lead to products within food, feed, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. The waste streams can be utilised as fertilizer and biofuel products.

The project brings together specialists along the entire seaweed value chain, from seaweed cultivation up to product testing, to establish and evaluate macroalgal biorefining on a lab, pilot, and conceptual scale for feasibility, bioeconomy impact, and sustainable full utilization of the biomass.

The consortium consists of 13 partners from seven countries in Europe. These include major industry companies Novozymes (Denmark) and Cargill Nordic A/S (Belgium), pioneering companies within seaweed cultivation (Ocean Rainforest, Faroe Islands; Hortimare, Norway) and policy landscaping of macroalgae production (eCoast, Belgium), innovative protein feed producer Fermentation Experts in Denmark, and established research organisations such as The Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) and Wageningen Research, also of the Netherlands, the Danish Technological University, Silkeborg Regions Hospital (Denmark), MATIS in Iceland, and Lund University in Sweden.

MACRO CASCADE will be co-ordinated by Prof. Anne-Belinda Bjerre from Danish Technological Institute, Denmark. The project was initiated on October 1, 2016 and continues over a period of 48 months.

For additional information, please contact Project Coordinator Prof. Anne-Belinda Bjerre ( or Dissemination and Exploitation Manager Olavur Gregersen (