History of the HoldiNova Group and its founder René Munier
At the genesis of our history, a vision made of experiences, bets on the future and hard work. This vision has built what has become the HoldiNova holding company, a group whose DNA is the image of its president, strong commitments and the certainty that the best is always to come.
In 1998, while living in the United Arab Emirates, René Munier was approached by a team of veterinarians in charge of the reproduction of endangered bustards.
The team’s mission was to reintroduce the bustards into their natural environment.
In order to minimise contact with humans and to avoid captivity-related injuries, it was important to rethink the concept of cages as it was known at the time.
René Munier, president of the company ProjiNova https://www.projinova.com/, with the technical support of Jacques Soulane, a net expert and external consultant, developed a type of cage and aviary made of flexible net without any rigid structure inside, «a tent made of hanging nets».
In 2001, ProjiNova’s know-how won over and allowed the creation of larger aviaries for breeding falcons.
To date, the largest aviaries installed are 50 metres in diameter and 9 metres high in the centre.
The largest structure studied measures 40,000m² and 39m in the centre.
Creation of FiletNova specialized in nets, https://www.filetnova.com/
In 2007, René Munier created FiletNova, a company specialising in the manufacture of nets, with its headquarters in Tangiers, in the free zone.
Mr Jacques Soulane, with more than 20 years of experience in the sector, joined the company.
FiletNova is then located on a niche market, and mainly manufactures technical nets for uses such as :
- cages, aviaries,
- cages for aquaculture or other nets for sports use,
- net filter traps for collecting waste from nozzles on rivers,
- waste covers for transport devices,
- odour covers for landfills,
- structures for ski jumps, etc…
Without any manufacturing limit!
FiletNova regularly develops new products to meet the needs of its customers.
Its credo :
“Nothing is impossible, come and tell us your dreams, we will make them come true”.
The company’s development has been fast and constant. FiletNova is today the international market leader.
Integration of FiletNova in the «AtSea Consortium»/Algae Culture.
In 2012, FiletNova joined the Belgian consortium, AtSea, to study and develop horizontal structures and to develop seaweed cultivation on submerged fields on an industrial scale.
In 2012, vertical rope culture has existed for years on a semi-artisanal way; it is the only known way to grow seaweed and requires a very large area (more than 30%) for a lower yield. This type of crop is designed to seed on land and harvest the seaweed semi-automatically, this process requires a lot of labour.
The concept developed by FiletNova allows the whole process to be automated. It is carried out at sea on the fields, generating less pollution compared to rope cultivation and allows a 40% reduction in labour.
In 2015, FiletNova created a new department adapted to PVC work in order to create a new range of products and to meet the needs of its customers for waterproof truck tarpaulins, swimming pool covers, oil and jellyfish barriers, inflatable tents, water games, and fenders, as well as for all types of underwater work ,
Creation of AlgeaNova Punta Cana/Marketing, Installation and Maintenance of anti-Sargasse barriers, https://www.algeanova.com/
In 2014, in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) René Munier discovered the problem of beach pollution by Sargassum, a floating algae coming from Brazil. This extremely polluting algae is washed up in thousands of tonnes on the beaches of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and the American coast.
Faced with this new challenge, René Munier decided to create AlgeaNova Punta Cana in association with Manolo Despradel and Frederick Gonzalez.
AlgeaNova’s company aims to implement sustainable solutions to remedy the consequences of this pollution caused by Sargasso Algae.
Fight against Sargasso/ProjiNova, FiletNova & AlgeaNova
With ProjiNova, designer and FiletNova manufacturer, the two companies already specialised in the construction of floating barriers, develop a specific patented model to retain Sargassum and protect beaches from this harmful algae. The concept is designed in an integrated manner. The objective being to protect the beaches, to clean up the pollution behind the barriers installed at sea by harvesting the algae, then to transform them into compost or recycled and recyclable dishes. This concept is both innovative and environmentally responsible.
Thus the system developed for anchoring the barriers respects the seabed. Their installation is without consequence for the marine fauna and flora and these barriers even create shelters for certain fish colonies.
The company AlgeaNova is responsible for the marketing, installation and maintenance of the barriers.
Creation of NavyNova
In 2017, NavyNova was founded.
NavyNova is specialised in the construction of barges specially designed to seed and harvest seaweed on AtSeaNova’s structures on the one hand, and to harvest sargassum behind the barriers for AlgeaNova on the other.
The concept is based on the following scheme:
The main barge (NH101) harvests the seaweed, loads it onto two cargo ships (NC101 & 102) which carry it to the shore.
As soon as they arrive, they are transhipped onto a tractor and its trailer and transported to the processing site.
The first barges are delivered in 2018 to the Dominican Republic.
Creation of BioNova / Seaweed processing
In 2018, BioNova, a new subsidiary, is transforming seaweed into compost in collaboration with a Canadian company. The polluting sargassum becomes a raw material, a very good quality intended for agriculture.
At the same time and in the framework of a partnership, the Polish company Biotrem (specialised in the manufacture of disposable organic dishes and glasses with wheat waste) has adapted its technology to transform the Sargassum into ecological disposable tableware to replace plastic tableware.
The group grows without ever losing sight of its social responsibility.
The aim is to contribute to the protection of our environment as much as possible
In 2019 a new subsidiary, AlgeaNova Mexico, installs its first 2.5km barrier for the largest hotel in Cancun and provides a barge (NH301 with its 2 cargo ships (NC301 & 302) new generation to harvest the Sargasso.
AtSea becomes AtSeaNova https://www.atseanova.com/
In 2019 AtSea is bought by HoldiNova and becomes AtSeaNova. Large-scale horizontal algae culture tests are launched in Spain (Lastres) to ensure the reliability of the structures.
Patrick Raub, specialist in marine and shipbuilding, joins the team.
A first barge is created in order to seed and harvest industrially in the open sea.
The group’s engineers develop the first steel barge model equipped with a harvesting tool and another for seeding. (A barge with a crew of 5 sailors can harvest 1 Ha and more per day depending on the type of seaweed)
Projects and Outcomes
A new net weaving for seaweed cultivation
Adrian Martinez, head of Technored, a former partner of the AtSea consortium, a net weaving specialist in Spain, joins the team. By modifying some of his machines, he developed a net weave specially adapted to the cultivation of different types of algae.
The aim is to produce only «Terroir» seaweed in the most suitable areas of the country concerned. The seaweed could thus be «vintage»; monitoring buoys would be installed to collect a range of data for the customer: salinity, turbidity, sunshine, nutrients, etc., whereas currently the processed seaweed comes from all over the world (often from highly polluted seas in Asia) and is mixed.
In terms of food production, large distribution groups are unable to obtain very large quantities of seaweed from the same region and therefore cannot benefit from a stable raw material throughout the year. The originality and know-how of AtSeaNova is to offer huge fields for a vintage Terroir culture.
Construction of the head office in Tangier.
At the same time, the group expands in Tangier. An 11,000m2 building is built to meet the future needs of ProjiNova, FiletNova, and AtSeaNova.
Signing of the contract AtSeaNova-Aramco.
In 2021 AtSeaNova signed a first contract for one hectare with the oil giant Aramco, a sample of a larger project that embodies all the conceptual and technological innovation developed above. After months of studies to define the ideal location and the most suitable types of algae, it has been decided that this hectare will be installed in early 2023 in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. The first barge built by NavyNova will be used for industrial seeding and harvesting of seaweed.
The structures have been designed to cultivate all the existing algae on the planet. The group’s biologists reproduce locally existing algae without ever moving them. The structure remains the same regardless of the algae to be cultivated. The only difference is the quality of the specific net to each type of algae.
These algae are intended to be used for human and animal food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, energy, compost for agriculture etc…
This project is a world first.
The Holding’s global project is based on the vision of its CEO, René Munier, convinced that our planet will have to use the great diversity of algae and their many nutritional qualities in the near future to meet its needs.
Installation of new fields.
In 2023, the Holding plans to install fields of several hundred hectares
- New barge manufacturing technique by NavyNova.
- New marine erosion barrier.
Construction with a new material HDPE.
Following the «Covid and war» crises, commodity prices are skyrocketing.
The group decided to abandon the construction of aluminium barges (a material becoming too expensive and requiring too much maintenance) in favour of HDPE barges. This innovation makes it possible, among other things, to eliminate the use of antifouling (excessively polluting) for the maintenance of aluminium hulls.
Recent investments have enabled the Holding to equip itself with state-of-the-art machines capable of water jet cutting and welding HDPE sheets together.
The first boat (NAB101) was launched in Mexico in October 2022 and the second (NAB102) was delivered in late December 2022.
Three units made up the first aluminium Sargasso harvesting barges, the harvesting mother barge ‘NH101 & 301’ and 2 cargo ships ‘NC101,301 & 102, 302’ for transport. This fleet required 6 x 150hp engines, plus tractor, trailer and crane. The whole process with the employment of 12 people was very expensive in terms of investment and operation.
The group took the decision to replace the 3 units of the old system with :
A single amphibious barge ‘NHR101’ made of the new raw material, (HDPE) equipped with a crane and a compactor truck also equipped with a crane.
For the same service, a single boat with two 150hp engines and 4 employees are sufficient. These latest innovations allow a fast, solid, flexible assembly, requiring minimal maintenance and easily recyclable.
This latest concept is completely autonomous as the barge harvests the seaweed, transports it ashore and unloads it autonomously with its crane. Then, the compactor truck with its crane collects the bags and transports them to the processing site.
NHR101 the new 11×5.5m HDPE amphibious barge is being built for a Mexican customer. It was designed by the group’s engineers and developed using a UNIQUE construction method which allows the barges to be delivered in 7 parts with their equipment grouped in 4 containers.
Each barge is assembled on site and launched in a maximum of 3 weeks compared to more than 12 months using the old method.
Revolutionary new net.
A French inventor, Dominique Michon, developed and patented a net barrier in collaboration with the French government agency CEREMA. It protects coasts from erosion and retains sand on eroded beaches.
It also makes it possible to control the progress of dunes in deserts.
Dominique Michon recently contacted the group to manufacture these barriers for his contracts in France.
The Holding has signed an exclusive worldwide agreement to market, build and install these barriers.
This new activity relating to the protection of maritime coasts and roads and other sites in deserts will benefit from quick development due to the group’s establishment in 6 countries and 3 continents.
The Holding is fully aware to have a role to play in order to contribute as much as possible to the protection of our planet.
With its 175 engineers, technicians and workers spread over several continents, HoldiNova studies all types of projects, on land, at sea and in the deserts.
The only condition is to imagine, create and develop in an eco-responsible manner!