Microphyt announces the launch of SCALE, the world’s first fully-integrated microalgae biorefinery

It will deliver large scale sustainable production of Microphyt’s natural specialty ingredients for nutrition, food & beverage, personal care, and wellness industries


The SCALE program, led by Microphyt has been awarded a highly competitive Flagship grant from the « Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking », a partnership of the European Commission and the Bio-industries Consortium. The 4-year 15 million Euro SCALE project brings together 11 top-tier international partners on a mission to develop the world’s largest microalgae biorefinery.

SCALE will address the ever-growing demand for safe and effective nutrition and wellness ingredients produced in a natural and highly sustainable way.

A unique industrial and multi-species production site

Located in Baillargues, near Montpellier in the South of France, the headquarters of Microphyt, will be home to a first-of-its-kind microalgae biorefinery, utilizing the CAMARGUE technology which is capable of extraordinary efficiency in production and extraction of bioactive compounds.

CAMARGUE is a unique and proprietary technology, based on hydro-biomimetic principles. Mimicking nature’s most efficient growth conditions, it takes advantage of the full biological potential of microalgae while ensuring a high level of control. A CAMARGUE-based demonstration facility is already in operation at Microphyt and has positioned the company as a global leader capable of producing the broadest diversity of microalgae species at industrial scale. This platform leverages the amazing biodiversity of microalgae, and their unique and beneficial bioactives which offer numerous solutions for nutrition and wellbeing.

Over the course of the 4-year program, the production capacity will increase five-fold, allowing for the development and production of more than 15 new ingredients derived from microalgae for the fields of nutrition and cosmetics. The annual capacity of SCALE will be more than 100 tons of high-value ingredients.

An eco-friendly project for a sustainable industry

Microphyt is dedicated to highly sustainable practices and does not use GMOs or pesticides, has highly efficient water use and actually consumes CO2. SCALE will further accelerate these environmental benefits by integrating renewable energy production enhancing recycling capabilities. SCALE will provide industrial-scale production of environmentally friendly, natural ingredients, that will contribute to reducing petrochemical dependency. In addition, SCALE will aid the attainment of European climate targets of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.

The natural ingredients sector is growing at 8 to 10% per year and already accounts for a global market between 4 and 5 billion USD. During the replication phase of SCALE, which follows the successful conclusion of the first SCALE facility, projected finished goods revenues of €1 bn Euros are expected to result from SCALE produced ingredients. In addition, the first SCALE facility will create approximately one hundred jobs by 2025.

“For BBI JU, the financing of the first industrial biorefinery that will transform microalgae into premium, high- nutritional-value ingredients for food and cosmetic applications, is a strategic priority. One of our main objectives is to reduce the risks associated with investments that have significant socioeconomic impact. SCALE is the first flagship biorefinery of its kind, developing a whole new value chain dedicated to aquatic resources. It will help reduce the EU’s heavy reliance on imported natural ingredients while acting as a carbon sink. Last but not least, we’re pleased to see an SME taking the lead on this highly qualified project team!” says Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking

SCALE is supported by a high-profile consortium

Microphyt has coordinated a consortium of 11 key partners along the entire value chain. Each partner is an industry expert and plays a complementary role in the program:
– Technology and Energy Solution Providers (Evolys, SUNTI),
– End-users in the Nutrition and Cosmetics Markets (Paul Bocuse Institute, Plameca, Lallemand, Chanel)
– Regulatory (Nutrasteward) & Sustainable Development (TECNALIA) Consulting Firm,
– Consulting Firm (PNO) and the Bioeconomy Cluster (IAR).

The whole consortium met on June 30th, 2021 for the SCALE kick-off meeting in the presence of representatives of the European Commission.

« We are really proud to coordinate the SCALE program which foster the transition towards sustainably produced microalgae-based ingredients for nutrition and wellness. Our partners are strongly committed and we’ve received great support from both the European Commission and the BBI JU. SCALE is a key step on Microphyt’s journey as it unlocks the full potential microalgae and its amazing biodiversity », declared Vincent Usache, Microphyt CEO


About Microphyt

Microphyt is a leading company in the production and marketing of microalgae-based natural active ingredients. With more than 10 years of expertise in the field, Microphyt leverages microalgae’s previously untapped diversity to provide unique solutions for Nutrition and Wellness. Microphyt’s technologies, developed in-house and patented, enable the controlled production of a wide variety of microalgae sustainably on an industrial scale.
Recent highlights:
– A financing round of €28.5 million in June 2019
– The commercial launch in the US of the first nutritional ingredient BrainPhyt, for the prevention of age- related cognitive decline in 2020
– 4 new and unique natural ingredients in development (2022-2023)
– A sustainable production facility that has quadrupled in output (2020-2021)
– The doubling of our workforce and assembly of a world-class international Supervisory Board (2020)
– Repeated selection by the French government as one of the 123 start-ups that will benefit from the French Tech 120 Program (2020-2021)