Prayon is a partner of the PLAISIR project. Meaning 'pleasure' in French, PLAISIR stands for Production Locale d'Aliments Immergés, Sains, Innovants et Renouvelables (Local Production of Immersed, Healthy, Innovative and Renewable Foods).
The aim of the project is to promote the emergence and structuring of a new food sector based on microalgae. It offers a response to the challenge of feeding the world's ever-growing population over the coming decades.
PLAISIR focuses on the production of plant proteins from microalgae, more specifically spirulina. The process is intended to be accessible to all, with production undertaken directly by consumers using equipment known as phytotières.
With a budget of some €2.86 million, PLAISIR was launched in December 2015 and will run for two years. It should create around 250 jobs, with the industrial manufacturing facilities being located in France.
The project will establish the partners as innovative and sustainable players in the plant protein market.
Objectives and innovations
The objectives of the project are to:
- create a new sector for the production, packaging and shipping, in suitable conditions, of live phytoplankton strains intended for cultivation;
- design and develop equipment for the production of spirulina and food microalgae;
- increase public acceptance of microalgae as foodstuffs.
The PLAISIR project aims to deliver four innovations:
- Growth of a new market and structuring of a new sector;
- Reduction of health risks;
- Development of phytotières, i.e. self-production systems for microalgae cultivation;
- Development of equipment and consumables at an acceptable price.
Advantages of plant proteins
Phytoplankton address common deficiencies in our nutritional practices.
Their fast rate of growth allows them to be cultivated in small spaces, close to where they will be consumed, particularly in urban areas.
Microalgae help to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the production of proteins for food. To produce the same quantities of protein, microalgae require five times less energy, four times less water and 20 times less surface area than soya and 100 times less energy, 50 times less water and 200 times less surface area than beef.
The project brings together the expertise of six partners: three companies, one association and two research institutions.
Alg&You is a designer of innovations that facilitate the local production of fresh microalgae.
La Voie Bleue is an association for the development of the microalgae food sector and the promotion of associated social entrepreneurship projects.
Prayon , a world leader in the phosphate sector, will help to develop nutrients suited to microalgae cultivation. Its main role will be to produce and implement nutrient solutions at an appropriate cost price, taking into account the constraints associated with the phytotière.
The IFREMER laboratory will work with Prayon to develop nutrients suitable for phytoplankton cultivation.
The LISBP laboratory will contribute its expertise on the separation of biological molecules for harvesting microalgae, simulation of flows in an environment containing microalgae and phytotière operation.
Groupe SEB, a global leader in small household appliances, will help to develop a domestic appliance (or range of appliances) for the domestic cultivation of microalgae.