It has started shipping Uniprotein to Danish Agro for use in piglet feed. The first shipment consists of 24 tons of the feed ingredient.
David Henstrom, CEO of Unibo, said securing the first commercial order for Uniprotein was an important milestone for the company.
“We have put a lot of hard work into the development of our U-Loop fermentation technology over the last decade and our Uniprotein product has now been tested by international compound feed companies with a resoundingly positive response. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Danish Agro and increasing our industrial production of sustainable protein to meet the increasing global demand we see.”
This first shipment is for weaning piglet feed, starter feed solutions, and the inclusion level for Uniprotein will be in the range of 6-10%, said the CEO. "But we see additional growth opportunities ahead in all life stages."
Uniprotein has proved to be very suitable for piglet feed, said Danish Agro, adding that the product will be included in the company’s feed formulations from mid-October.
A trial that company conducted earlier this year showed the SCP product can partially replace high-quality products such as potato protein and prime fishmeal in starter piglet diets without zinc oxide.
When Uniprotein replaced those other products by up to 10% (the highest level tested), daily growth and feed efficiency of the tested piglets performed in line with that of piglets fed solely the potato protein and prime fishmeal diet, reported the feed producer back in March.
That trial work was conducted as part of a Danish research project, SUPIAF, funded to the tune of €1.3m by the Green Development and Demonstration Program (GUDP), an initiative run by the Danish Ministry for Food, Fisheries, Equal Opportunities and Nordic Cooperation.
Henstrom said the results of that exercise created "quite some commercial interest and awareness of" the product among European feed manufacturers.
Uniprotein is produced using methane as feedstock in Unibio’s U-Loop fermenter, which was developed in cooperation with Denmark's DTU.
The company touts its product as an alternative to “overexploited protein sources such as fishmeal or land-based soy concentrate products."
When using biomethane or waste gas, Unibio claims its SCP will have low CO2 emissions. The biotech company argues that its technology enables venting and gas flaring to be reduced as it utilizes an environmentally harmful gas in the production of its single cell protein product.
In terms of market competitiveness, Henstrom told us Uniprotein is as cost-effective as fishmeal, with "a very similar protein and amino acid content" in the dry matter.
Danish Agro, like others, has been actively looking for additional raw materials to the conventional protein used in animal feed. "Fishmeal is a limited resource. We sometimes experience a shortage in fishmeal supplies. Furthermore, Uniprotein has a sustainability advantage [over a lot of other protein sources], as there is no depletion of the soil during the production of the product and there is very little environmental impact overall [from its manufacture]," Arne Ringsing, product manager at Danish Agro, told us in March this year.
Unibio signed an agreement with Chilean based distributor, Grupo Blumos, for “a large order” of its SCP product in December last year, with the Danish company saying then it was its first international shipment of such a magnitude.