UK— Deep Branch has secured £4.8m (US$5.8million) in in funding from UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio to scale up its CO2-to-protein technology.
Deep Branch will channel these funds into its Deep Blue C project, which seeks to integrate carbon capture and low-carbon hydrogen ecosystems.
Executing the project will enable the company to reduce the cost of design optimizations, lower capital expenditure and the cost of goods sold for its core fermentation process and improve downstream processing.
This will significantly increase the production efficiencies of its inaugural product – Proton – a single-cell protein for the feed industry.
“By reducing production costs as we scale, Proton will ensure a highly significant saving in carbon footprint for feed producers that switch from concentrated soybean meal or fishmeal, without an unjustifiable price premium,” said Deep Branch in a press release.
One of Deep Branch’s commercial partners of this project is BioMar, a leading supplier of aquaculture feed. In May, the two companies signed a long-term technical and commercial partnership that initially focuses on optimizing salmon feed using Proton as a primary protein source.
At the time of announcing the partnership, Deep Branch and BioMar said they would be conducting a wide range of nutritional assessments to test the performance and digestibility of the protein-rich ingredient for fish health and growth.
Once the Deep Blue C project is completed, Deep Branch will deliver a feasibility study for its first commercial production unit for Proton, which is planned to go live in 2027.
Deep Branch is planning multiple additional Proton production facilities, with an anticipated 600,000 tonnes per annum global capacity by 2030, utilising over one million tonnes of CO2 every year.
However, Deep Branch’s vice president of commercial and sales, John Hays conceded that shifting 600,000 metric tons might be a reach for just the salmon feed market and that the company would therefore need to explore additional markets.
He added that the company has already begun simultaneously testing Proton in poultry feed applications alongside its partners at AB Agri UK and Nottingham Trent University.
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