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ALG-AD Regulatory Review

Category: bioenergy
Published: 09/07/2021
Author: NNFCC
A regulatory review on the use of digestate to cultivate algal biomass for animal feed.

This report specifically documents and summarises:

  • relevant legislation that producers and users of the ALG-AD project outputs (animal feed) would be required to comply with,
  • any regulatory issues affecting the introduction of NRD-grown, enzymatically treated microalgae as a non-GMO feed material into the animal feed market (including agricultural livestock, aquaculture and non-food producing animals), and,
  • the steps required for the roll-out of the ALG-AD technology, from a regulatory perspective.

A follow-up report will also examine how different regulations may apply to select alternative markets, for the ALG-AD developers to review when considering the development of other novel products, such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmetics. The follow-up report will also draw together a series of policy recommendations, to address barriers identified during the initial legislative review.

Number of pages: 28

This report was commissioned by the ALG-AD North West Europe Interreg Project. For more information on ALG-AD see  here.

Accessibility: This item is freely available


Throughout the EU, anaerobic digestion (AD) is used as a means of managing food waste, livestock waste and other agricultural wastes via their conversion into biogas and nutrient rich digestate (NRD). Whilst biogas is the primary product of this process, digestate is widely recognised as a valuable by-product and is used across the continent in fertiliser applications. Spreading of excess digestate is prohibited as it can have negative and potentially damaging impacts on the environment, with the most significant risk being posed to water resulting from eutrophication. Therefore, strict limits are imposed on the use of fertilisers around Europe and it is often not possible to return all digestate produced in AD facilities back to land, thus causing a build-up of material with no alternative application.

The Interreg North-West Europe ALG-AD project intends to integrate microalgae cultivation plants with existing AD facilities, to create value from excess Nutrient-Rich Digestate (NRD) that currently has no industrial application. Nutrients contained within digestate could be used to feed microalgae, which in turn will be used as sustainable protein source for animal feed.

This study explores the EU legislation across the entire microalgae production value chain, focusing on how the requirements apply to the use of microalgae as a component of compound feed; the main market being targeted by ALG-AD. The report is intended to inform project partners initially, then a broader set of stakeholders and end users with an interest in this value chain.