Tech company, shrimp processor form joint venture to process omega-3 oils from waste stream

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Omega-3 fatty acid

A new source of omega-3s is set to come online, this one from shrimp caught in cold northern waters.
A new source of omega-3s is set to come online, this one from shrimp caught in cold northern waters.
Solutions4CO2 Inc., a Canadian company that develops ways  to process waste gas, water and biomass streams into high value nutraceutical co products, has entered into an agreement to develop a new source of omega-3 oils from the waste streams of cold water shrimp from a Canadian processor.

The agreement is with Quinlan Brothers Ltd., which processes and exports cold water shrimp, capelin, snow crab, mackerel, squid and turbot at its plant in Bay De Verde, Newfoundland and Labrador. In the initial development, S4CO2 will focus on using the shrimp waste stream to develop high value nutraceutical products. A facility is planned to integrate into Quinlain’s existing operations.

Hitching a wagon to the CO2 star

S4CO2 is a company built around the benefits of CO2 both as a growth booster for algae and as a solvent in a supercritical extraction process.  One phase of S4CO2’s technology is a platform called the Integrated Biogas Refinery (IBR); the other platform is called the Bio-Extraction Process (BEP).

“In the case of the IBR we are utilizing waste CO2 streams derived from anaerobic digestors (AD), ethanol plants or breweries as an external carbon source to cultivate microalgae for processing into omega-3 and astaxanthin enriched oils. In the case of the BEP we are utilizing supercritical CO2 (SFE) to extract omega-3 enriched oils and astaxanthin from Northern cold water shrimp by-products. These two platforms allow the company to have production capacity in both algae and marine sources of omega-3 and carotenoids such asastaxanthin and beta carotene,”​ Douglas Kemp-Welch, CEO for S4CO2 told NutraIngredients-USA.

One of the key advances S4CO2 has made has been how it delivers the CO2 to the growing algae, said Dil Vashi, manager of corporate development for S4CO2.

“Our technology infuses CO2 into the water in a bubble-less form.  It is going in at a molecular level,”​ he said.  The result is higher growth, as more of the gas molecules are available to the algae;  in conventional bubble systems some of the gas does not go into solution before the bubbles reach the surface and the gas is wasted, Vashi said.

According to Kemp-Welch, S4CO2 supercritical extraction technology has the following benefits:

  • It produces exceptionally “clean”, completely solvent free extracts
  • It considerably lowers the oxidation rate of the elements in contrast to conventional methods
  • It permits the production of extremely pure extracts that require rigorous quality control standards

Using the technology to process the waste streams of cold water shrimp is attractive for several reasons.  First, there’s the market;  Packaged Facts estimated the market for omega-3 in 2011 at $25 billion with a 2016 forecast of $34 billion.

Also, the shrimp waste stream is is a high-quality source of omega-3s, exceeding the industry 18:12 standard for EPA and DHA, Kemp-Welch said.

“The secret sauce of our BEP process is our ability to cost effectively extract an Omega-3 enriched oil as well as an astaxanthin enriched oil from this single substrate using SFE. We continue to optimize the yield and concentration process parameters that are unique for each co-product stream,”​ he said.

Sustainability story

The  third attractive aspect of this source is that it is highly sustainable. Six species of cold water shrimp are caught in northern latitudes in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), cold water shrimp account for roughly 7% or 450,000 MT of the total global shrimp production of 6 million MT. Canada and Greenland account for an estimated 70% of global cold water shrimp landings followed by Norway and Iceland. This results in an estimated cold water shrimp by-product volume of well over 150,000 MT from Canada and Greenland.

In 2008, the northern shrimp fishery in eastern Canada received Sustainable Fishing Certification from the Marine Stewardship Council. This is the first Canadian fishery to obtain MSC certification.

The agreement between S4CO2 and Quinlan Brothers calls for the creation of a 50/50 joint venture and the completion of a facility at the Bay De Verde site that will begin operation in the spring of 2014.  S4CO2 already has facilities in an IBR commercial demonstration facility operating in New Brunswick and a BEP pilot facility in Belleville, Ontario.

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