Using microbes to convert carbon dioxide from industrial emissions into a new type of single-cell protein, called Proton, Deep Branch has developed a low carbon animal feed with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal, the gold-standard protein source in aquafeed. The company has secured €2.5 million of European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding to build a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus, a hub for circular chemistry and chemical processes.
The new facility will complement the REACT-FIRST project supported by Innovate UK, which through extensive research and testing will help the partners to gather valuable data about the cost, digestibility, nutritional quality and carbon footprint of Proton.
Working with renewable power company, Drax, as well as a consortium of industry leading partners, the technology has already been proven on a smaller scale. This latest funding will enable Deep Branch to scale up increasing production to enable animal feed manufacturers to expedite performance testing of the new protein. Deep Branch expects the facility to be operational by Q2 2021.
Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch, said: “In the UK, and in Europe, poultry and farmed fish are usually fed on fishmeal and soy, which is mainly imported from South America and has a huge environmental impact. We are developing a new, sustainable way of producing animal feed, which reduces CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent, compared to the currently used protein sources.”
Industrial emissions to animal feed
Unlike fishmeal, Proton can be produced year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield.
“We’ll be undertaking further trials with BioMar and AB Agri, two leading animal feed companies that support the salmon and poultry farming industries. Thanks to the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation support, we can expand our production capacity to match the volumes that feed producers need to run these trials.
Bert Kip, CEO of Brightlands Chemelot Campus, said: “Deep Branch fits into our sustainable profile perfectly, and is the first organization at this campus that is active in gas fermentation. This is another area where we can develop a leading position.”