AQUACOMBINE (Integrated on-farm Aquaponics systems for co-production of fish, halophyte vegetables, bioactive compounds, and bioenergy) is a consortium of 17 European partners coordinated by Aalborg University. The project started in October 2019 and will run for four years.



The partners involved are:

Aalborg University

Is the project coordinator and lead in WP1, 3, 6, 12 and 13. AAU will develop optimised extraction methods for bioactive compounds in lignified biomass. AAU will also identify the chemicals and analyse the bio-activity of halophyte extract fractions and isolate the pure components. CEL assist in optimizing the extraction processes at pilot scale. Throughout all the work packages AAU will collaborate will all partners.

The AAU team consists of:

  • Mette Hedegaard Thomsen, Associate Professor and project coordinator
  • Marco Maschietti, Associate Professor
  • Allan Stensballe, Associate Professor
  • Charlotte Fonseca Holmene, administrative project manager

Lulea Tekniska Universitet

Will be leading WP4, where they will develop methods for purification and stabilisation of HCAs.

The LTU team consists of:

  • Paul Christakopoulos, Chair Professor
  • Ulrika Rova, Professor
  • Leonidas Matsakas, Associate senior lecturer
  • Io Antonopoulou, PhD

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover

LUH will leverage their expertise in studying the physiological status of plants and analyse halophyte cultivation patterns. They will lead WP2. RSR and LDM will also provide support and collaboration to LUH in growing Salicornia Europaea.

The LUH team consists of:

  • Jutta Papenbrock, Dr. rer. nat., Professor
  • Johann Hornbacher, Master of Science

Hochschule Bremerhaven - University of Applied Sciences

BHV lead WP10, where the techno-economic analysis for Aqua Combine will be performed and a business plan will be developed based on inputs from all partners. 

The BHV team consists of:

  • Axel Gottschalk, Dr.-Ing, Professor
  • Joachim Henke
  • Peter Ritzenhoff, Prof Dr.-Ing
  • Aleksandra Rupietta, Dipl.-Kffr.

Universite Catholique de Louvain

UCL will research on extraction and purification of protein, lipids hemicellulose sugars from green halophytes, by leading WP5.

The UCL team consists of:

  • Iwona Cybulska, Assistant Professor
  • Fatima Arrutia Rodriguez, Research Assistant

Hochschule Flensburg - University of Applied Sciences

FUAS will lead WP9 by developing and scaling up of processes for the conversion of residual fractions from extraction processes into biogas (from carbohydrates) and biochar (from lignin).

The FUAS team consists of:

  • Hinrich Uellendahl, Professor

Universidade de Aveiro

UAVR with work alongside CIIMAR and RSR on developing fish feed formulation in WP7. UAV will also assess DNA integrity, DNA-damage repair and anti-oxidant defences of fish and shrimp fed with halophyte-supplemented diets.

The UAVR team consists of:

  • Mário Guilherme Garcês Pacheco, Prof. Doutor
  • Tatiana Costa, PhD in biochemistry
  • Sofia Guilherme, PhD
  • Luisa Fernandes Sal
  • Veroniqua Fernandes

CIIMAR – Centro Interdisciplinar de Investigacao Marinha e Ambiental

CIIMAR will work closely with RSR and UAV on WP7 in developing experimental diets for European seabass and shrimp feed formulation. CIIMAR will assess the immune condition and inflammatory response of fish and shrimp fed with halophyte supplemented diets.

The CIIMAR team consists of:

  • Benjamin Costas, PhD in Animal Science
  • Aires Oliva Teles, Professor
  • Sergio Fernández Boo, PhD
  • Marina Machado, PhD student
  • Lourenço Ramos Pinto, PhD student

Celabor SCRL

CEL assist AAU in optimizing the extraction of non-polar bioactive compounds and targeted HCAs at pilot scale as part of WP3. They will also assist with anti-elastase, anti-collagenase and anti-tyrosinase spectrophotometric assays as part of WP6.

The CEL team consists of:

  • Sebastien Cajot, Manager of Food Technologies at Celabor
  • Stéphane Kohnen, organic chemist
  • Marie-Caroline Jonville

Envirohemp SL

ENV will provide collaboration in WP9 by applying pyrolysis combined with chemical activation and/or template methods to the organosolv lignin fraction (provided by LTU) for the production of carbonised bio-based materials (aka biochar).

The ENV team consists of:

  • Jordi Plana Pallejà, R&D Quality Technician
  • Carlos Sanchis, Product and Quality Manager
  • Manuel Roman Jimeno
  • Jon Solar Irazabal

Riasearch, Unipessoal, LDA

RSR will lead WP7 by studying the functional fish feed formulation and testing in field trials for pre-defined fish species.

The RSR team consists of:

  • Renata Serradeiro, CEO
  • Ana Nobre
  • Adriana Laranjeira

Alpha Aqua A/S

Alpha Aqua will design and construct the a combined Aqua-culture and Salicornia Europaea cultivation system as part of WP11.

The ALA team consists of:

  • Johan Højgaard, CEO
  • Ramón Pérez, COO

Les Douceurs du Marais

Organically produced Salicornia Europaea will be produced at LDM farm. The produced biomass will be sent to WP3 and 5. The biomass will also be used in the production of functional dairy products.

The LDM team consists of:

  • Corinne Lucas, biological engineer

DK Beauty A/S

DKB will lead the efforts in WP8 by testing the cosmetic and functional food (dairy products) formulation with halophyte whole extracts and isolated compounds including production scalability.

Carsten Børge Nielsen is the Head of production and R&D, as well as co-owner at Naturfarm, with years of experience in the business of skincare and haircare and has been successful in founding and building one of the biggest producers in Denmark of these products.

The DKB team consists of:

  • Bjarke Dam, CEO

Thise Mejeri AmbA

THD will work closely with DKB on WP8, in collaboration with AAU in formulating dairy products (yoghurt and cream cheese). THD will also investigate the feasibility of scaled food production and perform specific test runs as a pilot scale.

THD will work closely with DKB on WP8, in collaboration with AAU in formulating dairy products (yoghurt and cream cheese). THD will also investigate the feasibility of scaled food production and perform specific test runs as a pilot scale.

The THD team consists of:

  • Poul Pedersen, CEO
  • Per Godsk Nielsen, CFO
  • Anne Berg Olsen

Food-Processing Initiative E.V.

FPI will provide its expertise and leverage its professional network in accomplishing the goals of WP12. A dedicated Workshop will be organised to disseminate and validate AQUACOMBINE outcomes at the end of the project, which will be led by FPI.

The FPI team consists of:

  • Norbert Reichl, Dipl. Volkswirt and CEO
  • Sabine Hoefel

ADRAL – Agencia de Desenvolvimento Regional do Alentejo SA

ADRAL will work closely with FPI and AAU on WP12 to ensure the application of the developed halophyte extracts and compounds as a food ingredient are in compliance with EC. They will also help in assessing the future marketability of the new feed/food ingredient, and establish close collaboration with consumer panels and clarifying consumer perception with regard to adding the compounds in cosmetics and foods.

The ADRAL team consists of:

  • Daniel Janeiro
  • Teresa Biléu
  • Filipe Galego
  • Flavia Duarte



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 862834. Any results of this project reflects only this consortium’s view and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.