Antoine ADAM
Business development manager- Manufacturing

The ocean isn’t just a playground here, it’s a resource for the future

Microalgae like spirulina and chlorella are high in protein and have many virtues, although they have not yet been fully explored. They have a huge number of potential uses, including boosting the immune system, treating water, reducing the carbon footprint and feeding farmed fish in desert countries. In Saint-Nazaire, a whole ecosystem is being built around this new green gold, working with young innovative companies.

A world-famous laboratory

In St-Nazaire, the GEPEA laboratory is one of the top 12 research laboratories in the world. 220 people work in process engineering research to harness marine resources for use in the agri-food, environment and energy sectors.

The Algosolis platform

Algosolis is a public research platform of excellence open to businesses that develop new technologies for producing and biorefining microalgae.

Educational excellence

There are many degree programs focusing on marine bio-resources at the University of Nantes (Process and Bio-Process Engineering), Polytech, IUT of Saint-Nazaire, Oniris and IMT-Atlantique.

Success stories in microalgae

ALGOSOURCE is an innovative company specializing in nutraceuticals, offering preventive care (health nutraceuticals) and supportive care (clinical nutraceuticals). Operating at 3 sites in Loire-Atlantique, they have developed an innovative method of solvent-free cold bio-extraction of the most active substances of microalgae. 

PHOSPHOTECH based in Nantes, transforms fish discards, such as skins, bones and livers, as well as shellfish shells and seaweed, which have nutritional virtues (omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D) into products that can be used in food supplements, which may have beneficial effects on bone density, skin quality, vision, the immune system and cognitive function. Founded over 20 years ago, the Nantes-based company PhosphoTech is growing at a rate of 15% per year and now has 15 employees.

BLU EAT : this startup formed in Saint-Nazaire in 2020 produces active ingredients made from microalgae that are then added to local fruit juices. "Be like you eat" is Blu Eat's slogan. In Saint-Nazaire, the entrepreneur found a cutting-edge ecosystem for marine bio-resources.

ALGOLIGHT in Saint-Nazaire is developing a photobioreactor for the production of microalgae, in partnership with the University of Nantes.

AGS MANUFACTURING is a young company based in Saint-Nazaire that uses microalgae to produce biologics.

A unique pioneering ecosystem 

Entrepreneurs working in the marine bio-resources sector will find the Nantes and Saint-Nazaire area a fertile environment for growth. Unique in terms of its positioning and expertise, the GEPEA laboratory offers local businesses world-class research capacities and infrastructure. Ranked among the top 12 worldwide for microalgae research, this public laboratory with a staff of 220 people brings together several institutions (Nantes University, Oniris, IMT-Atlantique) and the CNRS and is renowned for its expertise in the field of process engineering. 

"The world of innovation envies this unique microalgae ecosystem, which is all in one place, with real interactions on a human, scientific and entrepreneurial level."
GEPEA lab director Jérémy Pruvost and associate director Pascal Jaouen

Companies can test their transition to industrial scale production at research and innovation facility ALGOSOLIS located at the GEPEA lab. It hosts several startups in the development phase and is currently being expanded. 

Currently in the test phase, the Health-Phase demonstrator project is developing innovative processes involving microalgae in order to meet the industrial production requirements for use in human health. This project is supported by the Pays de la Loire region.

In Nantes, Ifremer, the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique, the incubator Atlanpole and Capacités, the University of Nantes spin-off, are also actively involved in most of the projects underway to develop marine bio-resources in Nantes and Saint-Nazaire.

A comprehensive offering of study programs 

The University of Nantes offers a complete range of study programs from 3 to 8 years post-baccalaureate, with around one hundred license, bachelor and master degrees and 30 doctorates awarded per year. 

3 years post-baccalaureate:

5 years post-baccalaureate:

8 years post-baccalaureate: 

  • Engineering and Systems Sciences (SIS) ED 602
  • Plant, Animal, Food, Sea, Environment (VAAME) ED 642
  • Biology and Health (BS) ED 605

Key figures






budgeted by the Regional Council of Pays de la Loire from 2021 to 2027

Application markets

Nutrition and food
Microalgae, along with plant protein and insects, are the three main sources of innovation in terms of nutritional gains.
The clinical trials of Phycocare conducted since 2022 by Algosource to reduce the toxicity of a chemotherapy ingredient used to treat gastric cancer are the first of their kind worldwide.
Microalgae have numerous fields of application with the potential to improve the quality of the environment, including water treatment, bio-refining and the treatment of greenhouse gases.