An experienced project leader, and expert professional within the aquaculture industry, Ingmar Høgøy sown the innovative seed of of Greentech in the year 2018. The Bergen -based firm that was started as Ingmar’s passion, present-day, has become a market leader, working with national and international experts, research communities, and innovators to lead the way in identifying sustainable solutions within the circular bio-economy.
Ingmar’s lifelong passion for fisheries and aquaculture started when he was a young boy. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents at their island home which gave him insights into marine life. At the age of 12, Mr Høgøy started experimenting with microalgae in an aquarium using fertilizer for growth. He made a small pond and was catching wild trout fry for farming. When He was 15 years old, he began fish farming with rainbow trout in a homemade fish cage.
Later in his career, Ingmar has been dedicated to different parts of the aquaculture value chain in Norway, through research, product development, processing, and sales. In the early stage of the Norwegian salmon industry, he was working in a salmon processing plant when he realised that there was no waste management solution for the processed by products like viscera and bones. This became an environmental problem. He found that the rest raw material from processing was a valuable resource containing high-quality protein and oil – left unutilized.
Ingmar was hired at a pioneering company, built up a factory for processing the rest of raw materials from the salmon industry into fish protein and oil as feed. Ever since, he has been dedicated to the circular economy, utilizing waste from fisheries and aquaculture by developing new products as feed, special feed, and proteins for human consumption. The utilization of the rest raw materials from fisheries and aquaculture is now a large and profitable industry in Norway.
The Establishment of Greentech Innovators
Through his experience with aquaculture and by solving the challenges of by-products from aquaculture and fisheries, Ingmar realized that there are still environmental challenges with food waste. In 2018, he kept the foundation of Greentech Innovators and the subsidiary Algaepro. The idea was to find more sustainable solutions to organic waste like food waste. The environmental challenges with today’s waste management solutions became more and more obvious.
Food waste on landfills is contributing to 11 % of Methane emissions, a greenhouse gas 70 times stronger than CO2. How could we develop more sustainable solutions and utilize the valuable resources in food waste?
Ingmar and his team found that the solution was using microbes and microalgae to convert food waste into highly demanded and valuable protein and omega-3. Since then, they have been working to develop their business idea and improve the fermentation process.
They are trying to serve the waste management companies in a more sustainable waste management treatment than today’s solutions with landfills, composting, biogas, or incineration. They can also produce more sustainable feed resources substituting fish meal and soy to the aquaculture industry.
Corporate Ethos for Clients
One of Ingmar’s main strategic goals was the partnership with the local waste management company BIR which he succeeded within 2019.
Due to new EU regulations prohibiting incineration of food waste from 2023, waste management companies need to create more sustainable waste management solutions in partnership with start-up companies with new and innovative solutions. The Greentech team is acting as a service provider for waste management and producing feed ingredients for the growing aquaculture industry. They now have under construction a pilot plant for fermentation and like most start-ups; they are looking to raise capital.
The Inspiration behind the Initiation\
It is hard for Ingmar Høgøy to pinpoint the factors that made him start his own business, but he believes it is the urge to resolve problems. When you have ideas for new solutions to a problem and your employer doesn’t have the opportunity to prioritize the idea, the only way is to start a new company.
Further, Ingmar added, “I have always been fascinated by farming the ocean to increase food production. I have also been interested in sustainability and that we must reduce the man-made negative impact of the climate. Combining these elements and improve utilization of underutilized resources and reduce the negative impact on nature is fascinating and a driving force for me”
Going through Ingmar’s Routine
When asked about his daily routine Ingmar said, “I start my day with a good cup of coffee and plan the day by writing a “to-do” list. Finding new and innovative solutions is a more structured process than it looks like at a first glance. The working day has a great variety and meeting with people all over the world is common. The new technology with virtual meetings is fantastic and distance is not the same and it gives fantastic opportunities to discuss and get inspiration from people all over the world.”
He continued, “As a hobby, I have a small greenhouse and before starting the day at the office it is good to visit the greenhouse every morning to relieve stress. I live on an island on the west coast of Norway, and fishing from a small boat is also a good way to reduce stress. Life is good when we can meet with the family and serve them a good meal of seafood and vegetables from the garden.”
Favourite Books: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, The man who fed the world
Major Hurdles & Future Goals
As a start-up, the challenge will always be to convince investors of what a “brilliant” idea this is. There are many challenges as a start-up, but funding takes too much time and it would be better to spend time on developing products and markets.
Ingmar’s vision and goals for the company are to scale the solution of food waste management and microalgae production and give a substantial contribution to reduce greenhouse gases and farm the ocean.
Awards & Milestones
Because of their strategic initiatives and goal accomplishments, Ingmar and Greentech have been honoured with several awards. Last year they received an award for “the best waste management solution” in Norway and they came to the finale in “New protein sources”. A few months ago, they came to the finale in the Angel Challenge competition and got funding from angel investors.
A Piece of Advice for Female Entrepreneurs
You must fight for your ideas and never give up. You will face expected and unexpected challenges. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy walk, but you have to go uphill to reach the top. We need all the talents with good ideas to solve the climate crisis and Now, go out and do it!
Their slogan: “We give waste a value” as we are working every day to fulfil this.