Ministry launches algae production techniques project

December 19, 2017

Waqar Naseem Wamiq

— Saudi Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Eng. Abdul Rahaman Bin Abdel Mohsen Al Fadli, launched the “Research and Development on Algae Production Techniques in KSA” project here. Al Fadli signed Joint Cooperation Agreement with several governmental institutions and private sector to implement and support the project.

The under secretariat for Agriculture at the Ministry, Eng. Ahmed Alayadah said that the project is significant as it will use modern techniques in the production of algae using salt water that will contribute to the Kingdom’s strategic Objective and Saudi Vision 2030 which targets achieving food security, economic development and environment sustainability in the Kingdom.

He added: “The project will also target promising industries connected to algae. The new studies are directed towards feed sectors, plastic and chemical industries, environmental industries, medicines industry and others.”

The project will begin from where the others stopped to be among the pioneers in algae production techniques and manufacturing. It will also increase the joint efforts of both private and public sectors to reach the anticipated results and success. He added: “It will continue for 3 years starting from 2018.”

He pointed out it will contribute to technology transfer and localization, and will provide the graduate students with suitable research environment for their anticipated researches.

Alayadah said: “Algae farming in KSA is considered a base of renewable resources. As a vital economic program, it can contribute to the achievement of sustainable feed sector industry in the Kingdom through the usage of sea water, reducing costs cultured aquaculture feed that represents 50% of the total production costs. It also improves the quality of feed that is used in all agricultural sectors, and opening new economic outlets for marine aquaculture sector.

“At the same time, it indicates its active role in providing organic agriculture compost, and opening the door for the establishment of advanced industries to produce medical materials and food additives and other high value products, in addition to creating new job vacancies. It reduces the harmful environmental impacts resulting from carbon dioxide emissions through the consumption of large quantities of CO2 in algae farming.”

Alayadah said that the Kingdom has comparative advantages support the farming of algae on the commercial level. The most important advantage is the availability of multiple low-costs energy resources, the suitability of Kingdom’s climate to sustainable algae farming on the economic level, availability of CO2 resources from the electricity generation stations, saline water conversion stations, refineries, cement industry and others.

Also, the availability of appropriate algae strains in KSA, availability of appropriate marine water in the Red Sea, the availability on non-arable lands on the coasts that is suitable to the establishment of algae farming projects, and the availability of scientific capacities and laboratories at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and other research centers and universities.

Chairman of Saudi Aquaculture Society, Eng. Ahmad Albalaa mentioned that one of the main objectives of the algae project is concentrated on the production of vital algae slab to replace the fish powder, which is considered a high value product for the fish. He highlighted that KSA has natural capacities to produce algae on wide spread range, and it is one of the few means that support providing protein for all without exhaustion of pure water resources, especially that the global statistics indicates that the world will need to increase the production by 70% by 2050 .

Eng. Ziad Bin Mohammad Alshiha, CEO of Saudi Electricity Company, expressed the company’s pleasure to contribute in financing of research and development programs for this national promising project. He added the project will benefit the Kingdom’s economic and scientific sectors, among which the fuel and energy production.

The CEO for Al Watania for Industries, Eng. Ibrahim bin Ibrahim Buhairi said: “The contribution of the company in supporting the project financially comes from the Kingdom’s urgent need to develop new technologies in the production of algae and benefiting from it in the national industries, especially plastic industry, and to nationalize the environment friendly techniques through development and scientific research that will result in the scientific and economic sectors in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to achieve vision 2030.

The CEO of the National Program for Fisheries development sector, Dr. Ali Alshaikhi clarified that the project is one of the national program objectives and outcomes that will contribute to the aquaculture farming industry and other industries in the future.

The project’s foundation team consists of Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Aramco Company, SABIC, Saudi Electricity Company, National Industries Company, NAQUA, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdullah University for Science and Technology, and Saudi Aquaculture Society.

December 19, 2017
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