Full steam ahead for GC Rieber VivoMega sustainable operations

By Olivia Haslam

- Last updated on GMT

© GC Rieber VivoMega
© GC Rieber VivoMega

Related tags omega 3 GC Rieber Sustainability Fish oil

GC Rieber VivoMega’s omega-3 facilities are now fully supported with 100% renewable energy, with waste material diverted for use as aqua feed.

The Norwegian company has implemented an electric steam boiler to power its marine and microalgae omega-3 operations.

In Norway, nearly all electricity production comes from renewable resources, with hydropower being the primary source, as it is reliable and flexible, produces no air pollutants and reportedly has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all power generation technologies. 

"We needed the flexibility to fluctuate between high and low temperatures, which excluded most other options," said Frode Jenssen, COO of GC Rieber VivoMega. "For instance, heat pump technologies are close to having operations like this but still prototypes."

The boiler has an initial output of 7.5MW and is prepared for a doubling should the need arise, meaning a potential maximum of 10,000kg/steam/hour.

The firm will supply its factories with 25GWh of steam annually to produce its omega-3 concentrates. 

"We now have two energy sources (electricity and biofuel), which means we do not need to burn fossil fuels," Jenssen noted. "And in the next few years, we seek to only consume green energy from biodiesel and electricity."

The previous energy generation method involved using biofuel created from fish oil concentrate production, where the remaining biofuel and fertilizer byproducts were used by local aquaculture and food production industries. The move to hydropower will allow the waste material to be diverted to be used as aqua feed. 

"This means that the fish oil we burned previously can instead be repurposed into the food chain to produce fish feed and that GC Rieber VivoMega emissions will be vastly diminished," Jenssen added.

Sustainability drivers​ 

The move to steam power is one of several initiatives introduced by the company​ to reduce environmental damage, and VivoMega’s starting material is a byproduct of the fish meal industry rather than catching fish for its exclusive use and contributing to overfishing. 

"One of GC Rieber’s founding business principles is that natural resources should be passed on to future generations in at least as good shape as they were when we took over," Jenssen said. "We believe it is our social responsibility to maintain a sustainable future within our entire business operation."

It is not only moral foundations that drive sustainability initiatives but also the increasing consumer demand for a more environmentally friendly supply chain. 

According to Ståle Søfting, sales and marketing director at GC Rieber VivoMega, consumers respond actively​ to companies that are open and transparent about their sourcing and sustainability initiatives.

As a result of growing consumer interest in vegan omega-3 supplements, GC Rieber VivoMega announced the launch of its VivoMega Algae Oils​ last year, presenting an alternative vegan source of DHA omega-3. 

"Because omega-3s are one of the most widely used dietary supplements, we believe consumers will continue to be open to alternative sources of omega-3s as long as they provide an efficacious dosage and follow the same transparency and eco-friendly initiatives," he previously told NutraIngredients. 

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