The new Prima Protein plant in Egersund. Photo by Frank Ege.

Less than one and a half years after signing the contract between Prima Protein and Hedinn, the new fishmeal and fish oil plant for Prima Protein in Egersund, Norway, is in full operation. Production started already in February when the fishing season for blue whiting started in Norway. On April 25, Prima Protein celebrated the successful launch with a formal opening by Harald Tom Nesvik, the minister of fisheries of Norway.

Cutting the ribbon at the formal opening in Egersund. From left: Anbjørg Øglend, investor and owner of Prima Jæren Meat Production, Harald Tom Nesvik, Norway’s minister of fisheries, Fredrik Andersen, CEO of Prima Protein and Jakob Hatteland, investor.

Guests at the formal opening of Prima Protein on April 25, 2019.

The new plant is a state of the art large-scale fishmeal plant, incorporating numerous improvements and changes to deliver the best products possible as well as energy conservation.

Innovative raw-material storage

Gunnar Pálsson, R&D manager at Hedinn, says the improvements start even before the processing begins inside the plant. „Instead of one large tank for raw material, there are five smaller 240-ton tanks, each made of stainless steel. This makes it possible to control the flow of raw-material, so that the older one is not mixed with new. This limits contamination and keeps the raw material as fresh as possible.“ Gunnar says that as each tank is emptied, it is automatically washed before the next batch arrives.

Operation is highly automated, to ensure output stability and product quality. Prima Protein estimates employing a staff of 15-20 at the plant.

Inside the Egersund plant.

Fishmeal drying solutions

Mr. Pálsson says great care is taken to control the humidity of the fishmeal when it comes out of the dryer. „The level of fishmeal drying needs to be controlled very accurately before storage. Ensuring that result has been a challenge for a long time in this industry. At Prima Protein we tackle this by transferring the hot and humid meal with air-flow instead of the traditional screw conveyors. The strong airstream chills the fishmeal on the way, de-humidifies it and keeps the inside of the transportation tubes clean and dry. No parts of the meal transfer system become dewy.“

Furthermore, Mr. Pálsson says, fishmeal production runs can be directed into any of three storage silos, depending on quality and mixing options. Offloading can take place from all silos simultaneously, independent of means of transportation, be it sacking or other means.

Drawing on Hedinn‘s expertise

The Prima Protein plant is based on Hedinn‘s long-standing expertise in this field. Hedinn has worked on major upgrades of existing conventional fishmeal and fish oil processing plants around the North-Atlantic.

The Prima Protein plant is fully engineered and constructed by Hedinn, except for the plant building, which was raised by local Egersund contractor Espeland. The total cost of the plant is estimated at 300 million NOK, 31 million EUR, 4,2 billion ISK. The leading investors in Prima Protein are Anbjørg Øglend and Jakob Hatteland, two successful Norwegian entrepreneurs. The project has been led by Fredrik Andersen, who is also a shareholder and CEO of Prima Protein.

The Prima Protein house was built by local contractor Espelund. Photo by Sylvie Assersen Skadberg.

Egersund has a population of 12 thousand and has one of the best natural harbours in Norway. It is the second largest fishing harbour in Norway, only surpassed by Ålesund.