Ísland sem miðpunktur í fæðuöryggi Norður-Evrópu?

Iceland as the center of food security in Northern Europe?

The environmental impact of our human diet is highly debated at the moment. Increased demand for eggs, milk, beef, pork, poultry and fish, along with protein-rich agricultural products, have further fueled concerns about the future. The sustainable production of protein is therefore rightly at the top of the political agenda.

On Tuesday, February 21, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Cambridge published an article entitled: "How Iceland could have a starring role as a sustainable alternative protein exporter to Northern Europe".

The article refers to the research of Dr. Catherine Richards from December 22, 2022 and specifically discusses Spirulina, the blue-green microalgae, as the food of the future. Spirulina not only has numerous positive properties related to health in general, but microalgae has been discussed for quite some time as a possible substitute for traditional meat products. The production of microalgae comes with the bonus that the environmental impact is positive and the need to use fresh water is reduced by 90%, as we here at ÖRLÖ know well.

Spirulina also contains a higher percentage of protein (up to 70% per 100g) compared to, for example, beef (up to 30% per 100g). It is interesting that the production of Spirulina has already become more economical than the production of beef, and with increased production capacity that difference will increase even more.

As you can see About us page VAXA Technologies operates the world's most sustainable microalgae farm at Hellisheiðarvirkjun. The revolutionary and carbon-negative production process allows us to grow nutritious microalgae under ideal conditions all year round. At the same time, the process uses up to 99% less land and water than is needed to produce microalgae using other methods, eg open ponds.

Research Dr. Catherine Richards with the assistance of Dr. Asaf Tzacho, set out to investigate whether Iceland could be the center of making Northern Europe sustainable in terms of protein production. Data from VAXA Technologies' production at the Hellisheiður power plant was used to prepare a model, and the results were very interesting, to say the least.

With the scenarios drawn by the model, it is possible to predict that Spirulina biomass, produced in Iceland, could meet the needs of over 6.6 million people per year. That is the entire population of Iceland and Denmark, or the entire population of Finland, Norway and Ireland. This requires 242,366 tons of Spirulina biomass each year and a change of mindset regarding how we want to use our energy.

To summarize this, it is good to use the words of Dr. Catherine Richards in direct translation: "By transferring energy needs from heavy industry, Iceland could develop into a sustainable and important exporter of protein."

Map of power stations in Iceland.

Article Dr. Catherine Richards can be found here