Whisky waste water used to make fish food

A company that makes microalgae from the by-products of whisky that can be used as fish food for farmed salmon has secured a £500,000 investment to expand its business.

Whisky-based fish food could “revolutionise” the Scottish agricultural industry, according to MiAlgae

MiAlgae, founded by former Edinburgh University student Douglas Martin, uses by-products from the distilling process to grow Omega 3-rich algae for feeding farmed salmon.

Martin founded the business in 2016 as a means of producing an “economically and environmentally-friendly” fish feed to support Scottish fish farms, which produce over 160,000 tons of salmon every year.

Currently, fish are fed pellets made of fishmeal, fish oil, grains, soy and vitamins, as well as “poultry byproducts.”

It means that more small fish, per pound, are used to feed farmed salmon than the weight of fish the farms actually produce.

Martin’s invention replaces the need to mince up other small fish to feed other fish, and instead uses waste water from the whisky industry to cultivate a completely sustainable microalgae fish feed.

This week, the entrepreneur received a £500,000 grant from Equity Gap, the Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capita – the venture fund of Edinburgh University – to test its technology on a larger scale, as reported by the BBC.

“This investment will fund the initial scale-up steps and de-risk our commercial facility. It certainly sets us on track to achieve our ambitions,” he said.

“We’re looking at multiple industries in the supply side, multiple industries at the product side, then diversification into multiple products beyond feeds. There are lots of things we can do with our products.”

Martin will use the investment to expand his team and build a pilot plant for its technology at a whisky distillery.

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