An astonishing “green” refinery called “Morgane”
Founded in 1995 by Hervé Balusson, Olmix is a company specializing in the preparation of additives. Very early on, it oriented its strategy towards the development of natural additives, notably clay-based, soon combined with green algae. It is from these raw materials that the R&D department of this company has developed a whole range of natural products that can replace synthetic additives. Today, its additives are marketed in around sixty countries, in the cement, nutrition and animal hygiene sectors, and finally in cosmetics. But it would be bad to know Hervé Balusson to think that he was going to stop there. Also after having successfully carried out the IPO of Olmix in 2005, he is preparing to take up another challenge: to design the first green refinery in France which he called “Morgane”, in partnership with Caisse des Dépôts , the Center d'Enseignement Agricole de la Touche and agricultural cooperatives. A fine example of public-private partnership.
Use of environmental biomass
Olmix smells of Brittany, located near the forest of Brocéliande, cradle of many legends including that of King Arthur. Under these conditions, Hervé Balusson's new project could only bear the name of a famous fairy, Morgane. It is during the first half of 2009, in Ploërmel, in the Morbihan department, that the pilot site of "this plant unlike any other" should see the light of day. "With Morgane, it is for Olmix to go even further in the global environmental approach, by valuing second generation biomass to produce electricity while manufacturing fungicides and natural fertilizers", summarizes its founder. and president. The Breton company will indeed use a cocktail of eco-resources present in the region and, above all, undesirable and without initial added value, namely animal waste, plant-food waste and green algae waste.
One of the particularities of Morgane will be to use these green algae in its process. We can always retort that plants of the type that Olmix is going to build, there are already some in Germany and Poland. They are indeed almost identical with the only difference that they produce electricity from food resources such as wheat or barley, thus putting the food and energy sectors in direct competition. “Of course, France is undoubtedly behind in this area. But one of Morgane's strengths is to use only environmental biomass, which is essential in the current global context, ”underlines Hervé Balusson. Note that the green algae used for the operation of this future power plant is a sort of residual “salad”, resulting from the manufacture of Amadeite, a 100% natural nanostructured material invented by Olmix and whose manufacture results from the combination of juice of green algae and clay.
A solution to environmental problems
Today, green algae is growing all over the planet in a fairly exponential manner. In Brittany alone, where it has been present for a long time - 400.000 tonnes each year - its growth is 15 to 20% per year. Hence Morgane's interest. What is more, this algae, which is excellent in terms of energy, is very rich in mineral elements which makes it possible to design a high quality fertilizer. Another advantage of this plant, the possibility it offers to participate in the elimination of animal waste (slurry), a real current problem in Brittany, but which in the long term could constitute an economic stake. In other words, with Morgane, Olmix will provide a solution to two major environmental problems in Brittany: the proliferation of green algae on the coast and pollution by nitrates, while producing electricity, liquid natural gas and hot water, and by making natural fertilizers and fungicides. An example to ponder!