October 29, 2020


UK biotech company secures additional funding for sustainable feed from recycled carbon


UK biotech company, Deep Branch, has secured further investment of €2.5 million (~US$2.94 million; €1 = US$1.18) to scale up the sustainable generation of protein from recycled carbon, which could replace fishmeal, the company said in a press release.

Complementing the UK consortium project REACT-FIRST (https://www.efeedlink.com/contents/08-06-2020/2c8a101e-6815-4e3b-9a50-de4c4f3cec37-a181.html), Deep Branch is turning industrial carbon emissions into novel protein sources for animal feed and now, with the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding of €2.5 million, the company will be scaling up the production process. The funding will go towards building a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus, a hub for circular 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 with a nutritional profile that is comparable with fishmeal, the gold-standard protein source in aquafeed. However, unlike fishmeal, Proton can be produced year-round, reducing the impact of any seasonal fluctuations in price or yield. 

Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch, says, "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%, compared to the currently-used protein sources.

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.

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."