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Recycled carbon-made animal feed ingredient startup secures €2.5 million funding

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

UK biotech company, Deep Branch, has secured further investment to scale up its production process. Complementing the REACT-FIRST project, the company is turning industrial emissions into novel protein sources for animal feed and now, with European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding of €2.5 million, the company will be able to scale up the production process. The funding will go towards building a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus, a hub for circular chemistry and chemical processes, which Deep Branch expects to be operational by Q2 2021.

Using microbes to convert CO2 from industrial emissions into a new type of single-cell protein, called Proton, Deep Branch has developed a low carbon animal feed ingredient with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal. However, unlike fishmeal, Proton can be produced year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield.

The REACT-FIRST project, supported by grant funding from Innovate UK, is the first-of-its-kind. It brings together ten consortium partners from industry and academia that share a commitment to tackling the global climate crisis and achieving net-zero carbon emissions in the food production industry. Extensive research and testing will help the partners gather valuable data about the cost, digestibility, nutritional quality and carbon footprint of Proton.

Working with the 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.  

“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. 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,” said Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch. “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 that “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.”


Photo caption: Peter Rowe, CEO at Deep Branch (right) and Marc van Doorn of Brightlands Chemelot Campus (left).


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