Vukasin Draganovic, business development director, G2F, updated delegates at the 2nd edition of the International Feed Technology Congress (IFTC), part of VICTAM International 2022, about the company’s novel protein production method and the timeline to commercialization.
He brings 15 years of experience in the development of novel products and technologies across the feed and food value chains to his role in the Norwegian startup, having been a project lead at Nutreco.
The core of the technology, he explained, is specialized microorganisms that can capture and convert CO2 into a valuable product. With a dedicated reactor, G2F has developed a system for manufacturing protein. The process is continuous, thus allowing production of industrial volumes of protein, said the G2F representative.
The product realized is a microbial biomass containing more than 80% of crude protein, he said. The product has a good amino acid profile, similar to that of fishmeal, and is also highly digestible, he added. “Salmon feed is an obvious application.”
Carbon neutral feed ingredient
Using biogenic CO2 together with green hydrogen and oxygen would produce a carbon neutral feed ingredient, noted Draganovic.
“We get hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis; so we use electricity to split water into these two components.
“When it comes to CO2, we have two options – we can use fossil CO2, that coming from industrial waste gases. You need to purify that though to have food grade CO2.
“We would prefer to use biogenic CO2 to have the whole system completely green.”
Circular use of carbon
And G2F is working with its sister company, EcoFishCirle AS, to establish a circular use of carbon in a project called Lista.
The planned first G2F fermentation unit, revealed Draganovic, will be coupled to a land-based salmon farming initiative run by EFC, sited near Lista airport, in southern Norway, with the biogenic CO2 coming from fish farms.
So EFC will supply G2F with biogenic CO2 as well as being an off-taker of protein.
G2F and EFC will cooperate on production of hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis of water. Oxygen will be used to oxygenate salmon farming, while surplus oxygen and all hydrogen will be used by the G2F fermentation unit for protein production. Finally, EFC will supply G2F with CO2 through its technology for capture of that gas originating from salmon respiration.
“The technology is low-cost and has a low-footprint. We have undertaken a detailed economical assessment and we can price the protein to be competitive with soy protein concentrate (SPC) or vital wheat gluten.”
The protein has wider application though than fish feed, said Draganovic. It could be used in livestock feed and eventually in food applications, he added.
The startup is finalizing its 50L pilot production setup, which will be located in Risavika, close to Stavanger in Norway, said the G2F spokesperson.
That will be extended to a 1,500L pilot plant at the same site next year, with the startup then looking to build a demonstration plant at Lista in 2024. The building of a 20,000 ton/yr plant at that site is scheduled for 2026 and the company envisages having a 100K ton/yr protein production operation by 2028.