Kristiansund, Norway 2nd February 2021
The goal is to develop a completely new and unique technology to produce omega-3 and omega-7 fatty acids from Norwegian derived raw materials. The project has a total budget of more than NOK 12 million and received funding from the Research Council of Norway in 2020. Due to the COVID situation, the project was postponed, but has now resumed with a timeframe of 3 years. GC Rieber VivoMega AS in Kristiansund is the project owner and will lead the collaboration, which includes the R&D company SINTEF Ocean and the analysis company ORIVO AS.
The global market for omega-3 is growing in the health food, functional food, and beverage segments, as well as in the pharmaceutical product segment. To meet the growing demand for omega-3, there is a need for new raw materials. Norwegian derived sources appear to be an interesting and untapped source. To utilize the new raw material in a more efficient and sustainable way, new research and development of new technology is required. Among the fatty acids that seems to be the most interesting, and which occur in marine oils, we find the omega-7 fatty acid palmitoleic acid. Interestingly, palmitoleic acid has shown to have a beneficial effect on insulin resistance.
“We are very pleased that the Norwegian Research Council supported our project in competition with many others. This project is an important piece of work to develop new technology so that Norwegian and local raw materials can be used. We are now also pleased to have two strong R&D partners with us, namely SINTEF Ocean and ORIVO. Since SINTEF has researchers located in Ålesund and ORIVO is located in Molde, this projects also support the omega-3 cluster in Møre og Romsdal”, says CEO of GC Rieber VivoMega, Jan Roger Bjerkestrand.
“For SINTEF Ocean, which has worked with total utilization of marine resources for many years, this is a very exciting teamwork project. In close collaboration with the industry, we have a strong focus on research and finding sustainable technology solutions that contributes to increased utilization of raw materials. The fact that the project can help design new processes and enable us to isolate even more health-promoting products, such as omega-7, is also very inspiring”, says researcher Robert Wolff at SINTEF Ocean in Ålesund.
“Newer research no longer looks exclusively at the connection between omega-3 and health, but also how other fatty acids affect our health. To be able to utilize more oil fractions from the fish in the development of health-promoting products, the industry requires new technology. New technology will make us better equipped to also handle other types of raw materials. We are therefore looking forward to starting this project together with our partners», says Bente J. Foss, CTO and Research Manager at GC Rieber VivoMega.
GC Rieber VivoMega is a Norwegian globally leading producer of fish oil omega-3 concentrates. The company’s mission is to offer sustainable high-quality omega-3 products that help improve the health of people with the least possible environmental footprint. Continuous focus on the very best product quality is what drives our success. The company is headquartered in Kristiansund with two advanced and high-tech factories, a lab, a pilot plant and research activity. GC Rieber VivoMega is part of the privately owned group GC Rieber, which exercises active ownership in selected core areas.
SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest independent research institutes. Since 1950, SINTEF’s research has created solutions and innovation for society and for customers across the globe. This has made SINTEF a world-leading research institute. With approx. 380 employees, SINTEF Ocean is one of the largest institutes in SINTEF. SINTEF Ocean conducts research and innovation related to ocean space, and the ambition is to continue Norway’s leading position in marine engineering and biomarine research. SINTEF Ocean has offices in several places, including Ålesund. SINTEF’s vision is Technology for a better society.
ORIVO AS is a supplier of analyses for documentation of the origin of raw materials within marine oils and flour products. The company, which is located in Molde, has sprung from years of research at SINTEF to document which species are the raw material origin for omega-3 products. They are clearly leaders in their field and have customers from all over the world who want their products verified.