The Blue Chain 'Interreg V Flanders -The Netherlands'

Project realised with the financial help of:


Project summary:

Glasshouse horticulture is experiencing difficult times due to rising costs and increasing global competition. Both Flanders and the Netherlands implement support measures to help the industry make the necessary transition and corresponding modernisation. The aim here is to expand the existing range, for example with the commercial production of microalgae, suitable for applications in the food and textile industry, the construction sector, pharmacy and cosmetics.

Within the range of biobased microalgae Spirulina offers the greatest potential as it contains an important source of phycocyanin (blue dye). It can be a valuable alternative to the artificial variant, Brilliant Blue (E133) associated with hyperactivity and other health risks.

At present most microalgae are imported from Asia or the United States. Cultivation in Flanders and the Netherlands must therefore distinguish itself by its high quality. And also the logistical process from cultivation to processing must be economically interesting so that there are enough customers for these microalgae. Glasshouses are extremely suitable for this and there are enough people in the region with the necessary technical knowledge who, with some retraining, can cultivate high-quality microalgae in an efficient manner. A special surplus within the project is the cultivation of duckweed on the waste water which can act as an excellent water purifier.

'The blue chain' is the start of a new large-scale sector. The project will run for 3 years. If this cultivation is ultimately found to be profitable, dozens of hectares are available for microalgae cultivation in glasshouses or container fields; as a result of this the Flemish-Dutch border region can become a valuable player on a global scale.



  • PCG (Provinciaal Proefcentrum voor de Groenteteelt Oost-Vlaanderen)


  • Inagro (Innovatief en duurzaam Agrarisch Ondernemen) 
  • POM Oost-Vlaanderen
  • Centexbel
  • Millvision B.V.
  • BOM Business Development & Foreign Investments B.V.
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Stichting Avans
  • Agropolis
  • Universiteit Gent


"The Blue Chain" project is financed by the Interreg V Flanders-The Netherlands programme, the cross-border cooperation programme with the financial support of the European Regional Development Fund. More info on:

[email protected] +32 11 39 75 77