“Success is to contribute to solving some of the great environmental challenges and produce healthy and sustainable food!” – Ingmar Hogoy
Greentech Innovators AS, a humble entrant into the landscape of Biotechnology, is the brainchild of Ingmar Hogoy. The story of the innovative success of ‘Greentech’ started on January 30th, 2018 by Ingmar and his partner to identify the needs in the market and collaborate with research communities, innovators, and industry to develop solutions for circular bio-economy.
Ingmar Hogoy, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Greentech Innovators AS/, is a business leader, visionary and expert professional within the aquaculture industry. He is an amazing project leader within the aquaculture industry in protein recovery, biotechnology, process technology, feed, hydrolysis, new aquaculture species, fish health, and project funding. He holds expertise in fish farming, R&D, product development, process development, processing of fish by-products, marketing, and sales.
Working together with partners like researchers and employees to solve new and upcoming challenges within Aquaculture and sustainability has been a great inspiration for Ingmar. It has been an extraordinary journey since he started with aquaculture at the age of 12 up until today. And, his greatest achievement is to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse emissions by giving waste value.
The Beginning of a Business Leader
“My lifelong passion for fisheries and aquaculture started when I was a young boy. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their island home which gave me insights into marine life. At the age of 12, I started experimenting with microalgae in an aquarium using fertilizer for growth. I made a small pond and was catching wild trout fry for farming. When I was 15 years old, I began fish farming with rainbow trout in a homemade fish cage”, shared Ingmar.
“Later in my career, I have been dedicated to different parts of the aquaculture value chain in Norway, through research, product development, processing, and sales. In the early stage of the Norwegian salmon industry, I was working in a salmon processing plant when I realised that there was no waste management solution for the processed by-products like viscera and bones. This became an environmental problem. I found that the rest of the raw material from processing was a valuable resource containing high-quality protein and oil – left unutilised. I was hired at a pioneering company, built up a factory for processing the rest of raw materials from the salmon industry into fish protein and oil as feed. Ever since, I have been dedicated to the circular economy, utilizing waste from fisheries and aquaculture by developing new products as feed, special feed, and proteins for human consumption. The utilisation of the rest raw materials from fisheries and aquaculture is now a large and profitable industry in Norway”, he further added
Greentech Since Inception
Through his experience with aquaculture and by solving the challenges of by-products from aquaculture and fisheries, Ingmar realised that they still have environmental challenges with food waste. In 2018, he established Greentech Innovators and the subsidiary Algaepro. The idea was to find more sustainable solutions to organic waste like food waste. The environmental challenges with today’s waste management solutions became more and more obvious.
Food waste on landfills is contributing to 11 % of Methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 70 times stronger than CO2. Ingmar focuses on how they could develop more sustainable solutions and utilise the valuable resources in food waste? They found that the solution was using microbes and microalgae to convert food waste into highly demanded and valuable protein and omega-3. Since then, they have been working to develop our business idea and improve the fermentation process. One of their main strategic goals was a partnership with our local waste management company BIR which we succeeded within 2019.
Due to new EU regulations prohibiting incineration of food waste from 2023, waste management companies need to create more sustainable waste management solutions in partnership with start-up companies with new and innovative solutions. Ingmar and his team are acting as a service provider for waste management and producing feed ingredients for the growing aquaculture industry. They now have under construction a pilot plant for fermentation and like most start-ups; they are looking to raise capital.
The Challenges & the Driving Force
The leading man has always been fascinated by farming the ocean to increase food production. He has also been interested in sustainability and that they have to reduce the man-made negative impact of the climate. Combining these elements and improving utilisation of underutilised resources and reducing the negative impact on nature is fascinating and a driving force for me.
As a start-up, the challenge will always be to convince investors of what a “brilliant” idea this is. There are many challenges as a start-up but funding takes too much time and it would be better to spend time on developing products and markets.
Making the Solutions more Efficient & Sustainable
The goal is to grow microalgae on a large scale to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food waste and capture CO2 in microalgae, at the same time as they are producing sustainable and healthy seafood. That is really a win-win situation.
Keeping the Team Motivated & Innovative
The employee must be enthusiastic in making a difference and Ingmar always tells his team that they are contributing to solving some of the main global challenges, namely reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing food production. That is a good motivation for the whole team working in Greentech Innovators & AlgaePro.
The Current Landscape of the Waste Management
The current landscape of waste management and feed sources is emerging at high speed. Greentech mainly operates in two markets; the market of improved waste management and the market of new protein and omega-3 feed sources. Most countries are looking for more sustainable waste management solutions as it becomes clearer that food waste results in large Methane emissions from landfills and biogas production. New regulations are supporting this market growth.
Global aquaculture production is growing exponentially and requires new sustainable feed sources. There is a need for new protein and omega-3 sources in order to continue the growth in global aquaculture production. The dominating protein sources like fish meal and soy have limited supply and face environmental concerns regarding overfishing and severe deforestation.
The Business World of Europe
Europe is on the right track regarding the focus on environmental challenges with new green solutions flourishing, However, the access to capital for start-ups is a limitation slowing down the development and scaling of green solutions. Generally speaking, the governments, finance institutes, and industries are talking too much and doing too little. Now it’s time to take action!
Ingmar Hogoy’s vision is to scale the solution of food waste management and microalgae production and give a substantial contribution to reduce greenhouse gases and farm the ocean. Further, he believes that they need to utilise the ocean in order to produce more sustainable food.
Ingmar’s Advice to Aspiring entrepreneurs
You have to fight for your ideas and never give up. You will face expected and unexpected challenges. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy walk, but you have to go uphill to reach the top. Now, go out and do it!