AlgaEnergy and Yokogawa sign strategic partnership


AlgaEnergy, a Spanish biotechnology company specialising in the production and commercial application of microalgae, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation, a leading provider of industrial automation, control and measurement technology, have announced the signing of a partnership and equity participation agreement. The strategic agreement involves an investment of approximately €10 million (approximately £8.9 million) by Yokogawa to acquire newly issued shares of AlgaEnergy, making the Japanese company a reference shareholder.

Microalgae are a diverse group of unicellular photosynthetic microorganisms that can thrive in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, such as oceans, lakes and rivers. Their rapid rate of reproduction means that they can be utilised effectively as a biological resource. They are recognised as having great potential to contribute to a more sustainable society through applications in diverse sectors ranging from agriculture, food and animal feed through to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, biomaterials and, in the future, sustainable 

AlgaEnergy has been a pioneer in the microalgae biotechnology field since 2007. It is currently operating a commercial production facility in the south of Spain and, in late 2015, launched the world’s first line-up of microalgae-based biostimulant products to promote efficient crop cultivation. Biostimulants are a substance or microorganism that, when applied to plants or the surrounding soil, stimulate natural processes to enhance nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress and crop quality.

The addition of Yokogawa as a shareholder will enable AlgaEnergy to reinforce its position of international leadership, with the equity investment being used to fund a set of ambitious projects. These include international expansion of its biostimulant product sales organisation, entry into new sectors such as food and cosmetics and development of its promising product pipeline.

However, the scope of the agreement extends beyond financial investment. The two companies, which share strong synergies and a common vision, seek to build an industry-leading partnership in the microalgae biotechnology sector worldwide by collaborating in the area of research and development (R&D), manufacturing, marketing and sales. AlgaEnergy will leverage its broad knowledge and experience in microalgae biological processes, accumulated throughout more than four decades of R&D by its scientific lead, the world-renowned microbiologist Professor Miguel Garcia Guerrero from the University of Seville. Yokogawa will provide the advanced technologies and knowhow related to the automation of industrial processes that will be key to maximising quality and efficiency as production volumes increase. 

Augusto Rodríguez-Villa, President of AlgaEnergy, said: “This agreement is the best possible partnership in the journey to achieve our mission to leverage the potential of microalgae worldwide. We share the same vision for the future, the belief that more sustainable development is possible and that microalgae can be a key contributor towards this objective.”

Tsuyoshi Abe, Senior Vice President and head of the marketing headquarters at Yokogawa, added: “Yokogawa aims to contribute directly to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through its core business activities and this year we established a new Life Innovation business unit in line with that. This is our first serious foray into clean technology in the bioeconomy, which was recently added as a new focus area in our long-term business framework, so we have high expectations for this exciting strategic