Algae production on the Cape Verde Islands

The industrial production of microalgae is one of the most exciting areas of food production in the future!

Algae are seen and propagated worldwide by all nutrition scientists and institutions (e.g. WHO/FAO) as THE SuperFood / FutureFood.

AQUAMONDIS uses a technology that has been successfully developed in over 20 years of development work in more than a dozen plants, where it provides impressive proof of concept.

Superfood microalgae

1: Which algae are we talking about?

Researchers estimate that there are more than 400,000 species of algae in the world. Only about 100,000 of them are known to date, and only about 220 of them are used as food.

The best known of these are the microalgae spirulina and chlorella, and it is on these two that AQUAMONDIS is concentrating its efforts.

Spirulina: “In the beginning was the algae”
Our solar system is around 4.5 billion years old. Spirulina was created 3.5 billion years ago – shortly after our planet cooled down.
Due to the lack of a cell nucleus and a solid membrane, these microorganisms are not actually plants at all. They are classified as bacteria and belong to the group of cyanobacteria – also known as blue-green algae.

It was the first life form that could produce oxygen. This led to the enrichment of the primordial atmospheric soup with oxygen, and only through this could higher, plant and animal life develop – and ultimately also humans.

Spirulina is the origin of all plants and animals on earth. It occurs worldwide and everywhere: In fresh water, mixed water and salt water.

It gets its name from its spiral shape:

Spirulina contains phycocyanin, the only natural blue colorant that can be used primarily in the food and pharmaceutical/medical device industries as an ingredient or active ingredient.

  • Phycocyanin can be obtained by extraction. Procedures for this are well known and have been tried and tested worldwide. Practical tests with original AQUAMONDIS algae are currently underway.
  • Due to the low availability of phycocyanin to date, the product is traded on the market at attractive prices for suppliers.
  • Until now, the food industry has almost exclusively used artificial blue colorants. These are heavily criticized due to side effects, so the industry is looking for substitutes.
  • A detailed market analysis of spirulina and phycocyanin can be made available subject to an appropriate confidentiality agreement.

They do not contain any magic ingredients or extremely high levels of a particular vitamin or mineral. I
he value lies in the fact that they contain a very broad, complete spectrum of high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
As described above, they are the origin of all life and therefore contain all the necessary building blocks.
For this reason, they will also be used as a complete food source for astronauts on future long-term NASA space voyages, for example.

But they will become much more important here on our planet:

Spirulina is regarded as a nutritional miracle and the great hope of eliminating global malnutrition. It was named the “Best Food of the Future” by the WHO in 1974.

In 2008, the FAO reminded us of the importance of spirulina and called on all nations to further develop and intensify its cultivation.

In 2003, the United Nations founded the IIMSAM organization, which promotes the worldwide, widespread cultivation of spirulina to combat hunger and malnutrition.

In the “first world”, algae are mainly of interest as a dietary supplement and for vegans and vegetarians. They are also very popular in fitness studios because of their high protein content (up to 60% in spirulina!).

As a result, they are also appearing more and more frequently in meat substitute products.

At the moment, soy is mostly used in this area. However, soy is coming under increasing criticism due to its high water requirements and the deforestation that continues to occur as a result of soy cultivation.

Sales of meat substitute products in Germany have risen by 37% in the last 12 months!

Another rapidly expanding area is small animal food: pet owners are often prepared to feed their pets a very high-quality diet. Algae extracts are increasingly being used here as a dietary supplement.

However, algae are not only used as food but also, for example, in the cosmetics industry. The anti-oxidative potential of the algae is particularly emphasized here.

The Republica de Cabo Verde (=Cape Verde Islands) is a small, independent state in West Africa with around 550,000 inhabitants. According to the UN definition, it is one of the “Small Island Developing States” (SIDS).

In addition to the problems that all emerging and developing countries have, these countries also have some additional problems:
As these are mostly very small states, no large-scale industry (cars, chemicals, mechanical and plant engineering, etc.) can develop there.

And since these countries are usually located away from the major trade routes, the transportation costs for everything that could be exported from there are a decisive disadvantage in international competition.

But in addition to the economic aspects, the idea of impact is paramount: of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the project fulfills 9(!) SDGs!

It should also be mentioned that the project is really 100% green and “dyed in the wool”!

The electricity is generated entirely from PV and small wind turbines, and the facility has its own seawater desalination plant for water production. The system is not connected to the island’s electricity or water network – it is completely self-sufficient!
The vehicles used at the plant are all e-powered, and even the transportation of the trace nutrients required for algae growth from Germany to Cape Verde is 100% CO2-free using the German eco-freighter Avontuur! (home port: Hamburg). The oldest and most ecological sea transportation!
Unfortunately, we can only touch on the topics of microalgae, location, technology and the market on these few pages, although there are many other aspects.

We would therefore be happy to discuss this in more detail in a personal meeting!


Production process / process steps:

At the beginning of microalgae propagation, they are still relatively sensitive to contamination by competing plants and animals.
This is why you start with small, sterile vessels and gradually increase the volume using tubes of different lengths up to the algae tanks as the final stage. It is important that the spirulina algae are always dominant in the respective habitat and thus keep the competition at bay. However, this is simplified by the fact that spirulina grows at a pH value of 11(!). This is an environment in which only a few organisms survive in the long term.

When the optimum “harvest time” is reached, the water with the microalgae in it is passed through a special belt filter. The algae mass is thereby separated and then has a muddy consistency. The water is fed back into the basins (= circular economy).

The algae mass is dried very gently at temperatures below 40°C. This preserves 100% of the valuable ingredients!

On Cape Verde, drying is possible with relatively little technical effort, as the islands are geographically located in the Sahel zone, where it is very warm and dry all year round.

The dried mass is then crushed, ground and packed airtight. It will keep for several years.

This production process has been developed and tested in Germany by our technology partner NOVAgreen for over 20 years. It works absolutely reliably and can also be implemented in Cape Verde with little high-tech.

This value chain can be extended by a further, very attractive step:

The extraction of the blue colorant phycocyanin.

It is the only natural blue dye used in the food industry and medical technology. Depending on the quality, it is very rare and is traded at a very high price! The technology for extracting pycocyanin from spirulina is available; there are various technologies and several (German) manufacturers.

The manufacturers are currently carrying out practical tests with the original AQUAMONDIS Spirulina algae. These devices have also been tried and tested 1,000 times and are used worldwide. The issue of phycocyanin became known in the industry when the US company MARS announced a few years ago that it would only use natural colorants in its products in future. However, MARS had to row back shortly afterwards because it turned out that there was not enough phycocyanin in the world for the blue M&M chocolates alone!

Artificial colorants are increasingly being criticized because they can have dangerous side effects – especially in children. Many of these dyes are already on the EU’s blacklist and will be banned in the next few years.

A detailed market analysis of spirulina and phycocyanin by microalgae expert Dr. Frank Jochem can be made available in return for a confidentiality agreement.

Management / CEO

Passfoto JD

Jan Dohrmann, Dipl.-Ing. (TU)

– Studied aerospace engineering (Munich) and mechanical engineering (Hamburg).

– Project manager for plant construction worldwide for 30 years.

– Development and construction of biogas plants (founder and managing director of biowatt energy GmbH).

– Development and construction of water treatment plants.

– Expert for solar and wind energy

Network / Partner

AQUAMONDIS Atlântico Lda.
Rua da Morna Tino Mosso
4111 Santa Maria / Ilha do Sal
Republica de Cabo Verde

CEO: Jan Dohrmann, Dipl.-Eng

NIF / Registo Comercial
293299196 / 339559820230406
Santa Maria

WhatsApp: +49 1716556110

Marienthaler Str. 17
24340 Eckernförde

Phone: 04351 – 73 55 05
Mobile: 0171 – 65 56 110

Local court Kiel, HRB 24629
Managing Director: Dipl.-Ing.(TU) Jan Dohrmann

Die Produktion

Die Produktion erfolgt an einem perfekt geeigneten Standort:

Für das Algenwachstum ist die entscheidende Größe das Sonnenlicht. Das nächstgelegene Sonnenareal ist die afrikanische Sahelzone mit ca. 360 Sonnentagen im Jahr.

Die meisten Standorte liegen dort aber in politisch instabilen Ländern.

Es gibt tatsächlich nur eine Ausnahme: Die Republica de Cabo Verde – auf Deutsch die Kapverdischen Inseln:

Sie sind das „Musterland“ Afrikas und liegen in sämtlichen Indizes/Rankings auf den obersten Plätzen!

Selbst den europäischen Vergleich müssen sie nicht scheuen: Im Anti-Korruptions-Index von Transparency International z.B. liegen Sie weltweit auf Platz 41, danach kommen noch Länder wie Polen (Rang 45), Italien (52) oder die Türkei mit Rang 86.

The production

Production takes place at a perfectly suitable location:

The decisive factor for algae growth is sunlight. The closest area to the sun is the African Sahel region with around 360 days of sunshine a year.

However, most of these sites are located in politically unstable countries.

There is actually only one exception: the Republica de Cabo Verde – the Cape Verde Islands:

They are the “model country” of Africa and are at the top of all indices/rankings!

They don’t even have to shy away from European comparisons: In Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Index, for example, they are ranked 41st worldwide, followed by countries such as Poland (45th), Italy (52nd) and Turkey (86th).