What if it was possible to create protein for animal feed from industrial emissions and waste CO²? A sustainable generation of protein that could transform food production and supply chains? UK biotech company Deep Branch is doing exactly that, developing animal feed for use in the poultry farming and aquaculture sectors.
Having already received funding from the UK government as part of the REACT-FIRST sustainability project, Deep Branch has now received an additional new investment of €2.5 million from the European Innovation Council (EIC).
This new EIC accelerator funding will see Deep Branch establish a new scale-up facility in the Netherlands, enabling the company to increase production of their protein source, called Proton™. Feed manufacturers BioMar and AB Agri will work together with Deep Branch on feed trials (which will require bulk production). Deep Branch expects the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus to be operational by the second quarter of 2021.
Fish food from a single-cell protein (SCP)
Using microbes to convert CO² from industrial emissions, into a new type of single-cell protein (Proton™), Deep Branch is able to produce a low carbon animal feed with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal. However, unlike fishmeal, Proton™ can be produced all year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield.
“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.” says Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch.
“Setting up the pilot plant represents an important next step in finding the perfect recipe for Proton that meets the requirements of feed producers. We’ll be undertaking further trials with BioMar and AB Agri, two leading animal feed companies that support the salmon and poultry farming industries.” adds Rowe. “Brightlands Chemelot Campus is the ideal location for our Scale-Up Centre, and there is a clear alignment between our goals and the facility’s overall ambitions for CO² recycling and sustainable hydrogen use. The industrial site gives us the ability to scale up quickly and has room for a large-scale production facility as well as the raw materials to create Proton. We have access to everything we need.”
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.”