NovoNutrients, a Silicon Valley-based innovator making protein through carbon capture and utilization, was selected to test at Skretting’s Aquaculture Research Center facilities, bringing ever closer their shared objective of removing barriers to sustainably fed, affordable food by 2025. NovoNutrients is among a handful of sustainable innovations given a pioneering level of support within Skretting. The explicit goal is striking a procurement contract through which Skretting would commit to purchases of NovoNutrients’ feed ingredients.
“Through cooperation with Skretting, NovoNutrients’ path to large-scale manufacturing and adoption is greatly smoothed and shortened. We are thrilled to see this deep push for nutrition innovation. We can feed fish and also push quickly to offer our protein to plant-based meat companies, supplementing or replacing their use of soy and peas,” said NovoNutrients CEO, David Tze.
Now, NovoNutrients is progressing forward with the testing of its protein product within Skretting’s ingredient development process. In September 2020, the first product sample of bacterial protein meal is being shipped to Skretting from NovoNutrients’ Silicon Valley lab. In 2021, samples will originate from one or both of NovoNutrients’ emissions pilot projects, which are planned for the U.S. and Japan, in the value chains for energy, steel and concrete.
Jenna Bowyer, Skretting's category manager Novel Ingredients, said that “we recognize that it’s difficult for a startup to have a product that is developed enough to enter our ingredient development pipeline and meet the requirements needed for Skretting to start purchasing any volume. Our evolving ingredient development pipeline is designed to identify the most promising innovations from these companies and ensure that they get the resources and attention needed to excel within Skretting’s rigorous and incredibly selective evaluation process. We know that financing first-of-a-kind ingredient factories is hard for startups and, via the range of different agreements we can apply, we hope to break that limiting cycle and signal to the world which innovators we think have what it takes to go commercial and get big.”
“At Skretting, we have seen that the biggest limitation in the implementation of novel ingredients is scale and a resulting competitive price,” said Robert van den Breemer, procurement director at Skretting. “This work allows a game-changing discussion to enable the necessary resources and highlights why we’re involved. We can make a real impact to global sustainability and we see a direct link with supporting our mission of Feeding the Future.”
NovoNutrients transforms industrial emissions that are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) into additives and high-performance protein ingredients, initially for fast-growing fish and shrimp feed markets. Brian Sefton, CTO and founder, explains. “Aquaculture often relies on feeding fish to fish, in the form of fish meal and fish oil ingredients. That supply is limited, volatile, and expensive. To keep aquafeed production from being undersupplied with the nutrients it needs and potentially limiting growth in the aquaculture sector, less costly additives and proteins are needed to make fish feed. Our gas fermentation process is anchored by low blended-cost, massive-scale feedstocks: waste CO2, as well as mixed gas containing hydrogen. The gases grow up our fast-doubling bacterial meal strains, which are natural, have more than 70% protein and, optionally, integrated additives.”
Skretting's attention was seized when NovoNutrients was chosen by a panel of 13 fully independent subject matter experts in the fields of nutrition, feed, environment, alternative protein, aquaculture innovation, finance, and assurance at a September 17, 2019 event held by Project X in London. With a systems approach, that event called on innovators in the feed and aquaculture sectors to come forward with sustainable alternatives to transform the industry’s performance.