California based Calysta is partnering with Cargill and other investors to build the US plant, with the goal of scaling up production of the “disruptive protein source” that is targeted at the fish, livestock and pet food sectors.
September saw Calysta open a plant in Teeside but that UK facility is only at pilot scale, and was established in order to produce samples of FeedKind for industry testing and to secure registrations for the protein beyond Europe.
The plant in Memphis is expected to come online in late 2018, and will produce product for “worldwide distribution to a variety of customers.”
The companies said the initial output is slated at 20,000 metric tons per year but that they intend to ramp up production to ten times that at a later stage.
“We have not, as yet, announced when the plant will be at full capacity, but our goal is to produce 200,000 tons of FeedKind per year in the next four to five years,” Alan Shaw, CEO of Calysta, told us.
Raw material sourcing
Cargill had spent several months scouting for a location for the manufacture of the natural gas derived protein.
“Memphis was selected because of the proximity and availability of raw materials used to make FeedKind protein, such as natural methane gas. Secondly, the Memphis location is [ideal for] shipping of the finished product internationally. Lastly, the existing infrastructure and equipment such as the tanks and cooling structure can be reused in this new facility, making it a more cost-effective project,” said a spokesperson for Calysta.
The company said the methane will come from a variety of sources. “A common assumption is that all natural gas comes from fracking. That is incorrect. In the US, for example, it depends on where the production facility is located as to whether or not it comes from fracking.
“Other potential renewable sources include municipal waste and anaerobic digestion. In the US, biogas is now classified as a renewable fuel by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Currently, there is not enough methane available globally from biological sources to support large scale production of fishmeal alternatives,” added the spokesperson.
He added that, as technology advances, Calysta will explore the use of methane captured from such renewable sources.
Yesterday we reported on UniBio's plant opening.It is a Danish producer of methane gas to feed protein.