German chemicals maker Evonik and Dutch health company Royal DSM have decided to base their new commercial-scale marine algae-based omega-3 fatty acids production facility in Nebraska, USA.

To be located in the city of Blair, Evonik’s and DSM’s nutritional products divisions said in a statement on 15 June that they would invest approximately US$200M in the facility.

The plant, which was projected to come online in 2019, would have an initial capacity to meet roughly 15% of the total annual demand for EPA and DHA fatty acids by the salmon aquaculture industry.

Blair was chosen as the location due to Evonik’s two-decades-long presence in the city with its facility producing the Biolys brand L-lysine amino acid and due to the relationship the company had established with the local community.

The new plant would be located adjacent to Evonik’s current facility on Cargill’s site, with established access to the raw materials needed to produce the EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acid oils.

Evonik and DSM announced their Veramaris joint venture in March 2017, stating that it would be the first to produce omega-3 fatty acids for animal nutrition without the need to utilise wild caught fish as a resource.

By replacing fish-based oils in salmon feed, the companies said the fish-in-fish-out ratio of salmon fisheries would be “reduced significantly”.

“The algal oil … means that the vision of salmon farming without using fish-based resources is – for the first time – becoming realistic,” Evonik and DSM said in the statement at the time.

According to the companies, global fish oil production was at about 1M tonnes annually, of which the aquaculture industry consumed approximately 75%, but limited wild fish stocks restricted the amount of available fish oil.

Producing omega-3 fatty acids without the use of wild fish would preserve fish stocks and contribute to animal nutrition while maintaining the ecological balance and biodiversity of the oceans.

Until the Blair facility opens, the companies said they would produce pilot-scale quantities of the algal omega-3 oil at DSM’s production facility in Kingstree, South Carolina, USA, established as part of their 2015 joint development agreement.