Finnish single cell protein producer raises over €1m in financing

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Andrii Yalanskyi
© GettyImages/Andrii Yalanskyi

Related tags Single cell protein

Finland's eniferBio has received over €1m in funding, in a seed round, from by Nordic FoodTech VC, which invests in food technology, and Voima Ventures, which invests in science-based deep tech startups.

The Finnish startup, which began life in the startup incubator, Launchpad, run by that country's technical research organization, VTT, has developed what it terms a sustainable method of producing a high-quality feed ingredient - Pekilo mycoprotein - a form of single cell protein (SCP) derived from fungi.

The Finnish Pekilo based process is the longest running single cell production method for feed protein in the world. You can read about the background to the technology here​.

Pekilo mycoprotein can be used as raw material for fish feed. It is produced from biorefineries’ underutilized and renewable organic raw material streams.

“We have demonstrated that the single cell protein manufacturing process works with a variety of industrial by-products that are available globally in huge quantities. There is scope to replace all the soy protein concentrate used in fish feeds today, a market worth US$2bn currently,”​ said Simo Ellilä, the founder and CEO of eniferBio.

Through the support of VTT Launchpad, eniferBio has built networks with the relevant industry partners and fish feed producers. The technology was recognized at this year’s Nutreco Feed and Food Tech Challenge, taking the top prize​ in September; arising out of that, the SCP producer gets to validate its protein product in a salmon feeding trial with Skretting.

Its objective now is to start pilot production of its SCP in early 2021 and to produce enough protein quickly to allow testing by a range of fish feed producers. The next step would be to build an industrial scale plant.

“We will set up pilot production ‘at home’ here in Espoo, Finland. We are also planning to carry out on-site piloting at biorefineries in Europe,”​ Ellilä told FeedNavigator.

Regarding industrial scale production, the current plan is to have a plant up and running by 2024 or 2025 at the latest, he said. That unit will be within Europe, but the exact location remains to be seen, said the chief executive. 

“We need to co-locate with a biorefinery. We are currently in talks with four to five [players], so the location of the site for our first industrial unit will depend on how those talks and the piloting trials progress.”

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