Fledgling UK biotech company Deep Branch has secured European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding of €2.5 million ($2.9 million) to scale up its production process and start trialing its novel products with feed giants such as Biomar.
The start-up company turns industrial carbon emissions into novel protein sources for animal feed.
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 the second quarter of 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 with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal, it said.
Proton can be produced year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield.
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.
"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," said Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch.
"We are developing a new, sustainable way of producing animal feed, which reduces CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent, compared with the currently used protein sources."
Setting up the pilot plant represents an important next step for the company in finding the right recipe for Proton that meets the requirements of feed producers.
The group will be trialing its ingredients with both Biomar and AB Agri.