Duckweed – a water based biomass with potential – step 1

The project ran between November 2018 and May 2019.

The companies Orkla and Kemibolaget Ocean, are both manufacturing and selling different types of laundry and personal care products, have shown a strong need for significantly more environmentally sustainable surfactants.

Duckweed is growing wild in most countries globally. There are many initiatives for duckweed farms. In our more northern latitudes one initiative is performed by Luke (Natural Resources Institute) in Finland. Today the cultivated duckweed is typically used as animal feed.

The crop yield of duckweed in our northern latitudes is about 10-20 tonnes dry weight biomass/hectare/year, compared with 3 – 8 tonnes for wheat, for example. Within the detergent segment, biobased surfactants can be sold at higher prices compared to fossil based.

The project’s studies showed that the price of today’s biodiesel manufactured from microalgae lies somewhere around 15 Euro/kg. For duckweed, this price has the potential to be reduced partly because the duckweed grows on the surface, and partly if you combine the cultivation with other operations such as water treatment or waste facilities. Pilot trials from Spain indicate a price of 1 Euro/kg biomass of microalgae.


pSk earth adaption AB, Helsingborgs kommun, Kemibolaget i Bromma Aktiebolag, Länsstyrelsen in Skåne län, Nordvästra Skånes Renhållnings AB (NSR), Orkla Care (Norway) and RISE.


The project’s budget was 1 000 000 SEK.