Danes producing fishmeal substitute

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Natural gas Carbon dioxide

Danes producing fishmeal substitute
Danish biotech company, UniBio, said it has officially entered the commercial phase in the development of its methane gas derived protein alternative to fishmeal and soy.

Its plant in Kalundborg in Denmark is now on stream – it officially opened last week. UniBio said the facility has the capacity to produce up to 80 tons of UniProtein, its proprietary single cell protein, per year. 

Kalundborg Opening -  Unibio CEO Henrik Busch-Larsen
UniBio CEO Henrik Busch-Larsen at opening of firm's first commercial plant this month

The manufacturing process is based on U-Loop technology, which converts natural gas into a concentrated protein for use in compound feed markets targeting salmon, pigs, poultry and calves.

UniBio had sold the entire output of the Kalundborg plant to Danish pig feed manufacturer, Vestjyllands Andel.

Earlier this year, company CEO, Henrik Busch-Larsen said UniBio had secured its first licensing deal in relation to its proprietary technology, which will see a production facility with multiple U-Loop fermenters up and running in an Eastern European based site by the end of 2017.

Plans are underway to accelerate roll-out of the global production of sustainable protein, with parties from several regions around the world indicating interest in fermentation and production licensee agreements and JV partnerships, said UniBio.

“Other licensing deals are in the works; we will be disclosing more about those in the coming months. All I can say, at this point, is that they will be based outside of Europe,” ​the CEO told this publication in October.

UniBio continues to talk with investors in relation to capital raising, a process that is now being handled by a leading Scandinavian investment bank. “We are in a pre-IPO phase. Now we want to build additional value, expand capacity, build more plants. Later on we will look at carrying out an IPO,”​ said Busch-Larsen last month.  

The company said it intends to continue the development of its U-Loop technology and new applications for UniProtein.

US producer

Meanwhile, September saw Calysta a US headquartered methane gas to feed producer, open a pilot plant in Teeside in the UK to produce its ‘protein-rich biomass’ for fish feed, FeedKind.

Its technology is similar to that used by UniBio.

The pilot facility, which is developing product samples for industry to test but also to enable the firm to secure product registrations beyond Europe, will produce around 5 to 10 tons of the methane gas to protein product on an annual basis.

US agribusiness giant, Cargill, is also collaborating with Calysta in a project to construct a large North American plant to produce FeedKind, which it has previously said is scheduled to be operational towards the end of 2018. 

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