European funding boosts production of animal feed made from recycled carbon

29 October 2020

Innogen researchers are working on a recycling project with Deep Branch Biotechnology that produces sustainable protein for animal feed from carbon dioxide. The company has recently secured European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator funding of €2.5 million to scale up production.

The REACT-FIRST project is pioneering a process to convert industrial emissions into a novel protein source for animal feed. The EIC funding will go towards building a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus to scale up the production process. Deep Branch expects the site to be operational in 2021.

By using microbes to convert carbon dioxide from industrial emissions into a new type of 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. 

The REACT-FIRST project, supported by Innovate UK, brings together 10 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. The new funding will enable Deep Branch to scale up the production of sustainable animal feed and expedite performance testing on fish and poultry.

Innogen members Alan Raybould and Joyce Tait will be assessing the economic, societal and environmental benefits of proton and offering guidance to consortium partners on how to innovate responsibly and engage with relevant stakeholders to ensure wider acceptance of the technology.