Unibio and Core Protein LLC have begun preparations to construct a protein production plant in the U.S. by utilizing Unibio’s patented methane-to-protein fermentation technology. The parties previously executed a master license agreement, and now the project is in full development.
The plant will be located in Texas at a site where the necessary infrastructure for such a project is already available. Site selection is ongoing, and several potential sites just outside of Houston, Texas, have already been identified. The final decision will be made over the next couple of months, the companies said.
“In a world where the environmental and climate impact of meat production is a hot topic, Texas has the potential to become the frontrunner in applying a novel technology that will significantly reduce stress on agricultural land and oceans as the Unibio technology fully decouples protein production from farming and fishing,” the companies said. “Furthermore, agriculture and meat production are very water usage intensive, and the Unibio technology addresses this challenge: Very little water is used for the production of each kilogram of protein compared to traditional protein production.”
Unibio’s Uniprotein will be used as a protein ingredient in animal feed.
“Uniprotein is a sustainable feed ingredient that is critical to meeting the rising global demand for sustainable food production,” Unibio Group chief executive officer Henrik Busch-Larsen said. “We are delighted to partner up with Core Protein and the Texan stakeholders to launch the project in the United States. Texas seems to be the perfect place for a U.S. home of Uniprotein production and starting point for our venture into North America, as Texas is not only the largest natural gas producer in the U.S. but also the largest wind energy producer.”
Further, from a protein market perspective, Texas is ideal because ambitions within the meat and aquaculture industry are high, Busch-Larsen added.
“Not only was it a pleasure working with Mr. Busch-Larsen and his team at Unibio to secure the exclusive production rights of Uniprotein in the United States, but it is a real privilege to be part of a team at the forefront of advanced technologies that address acute environmental needs,” Ron Yair of Core Protein said. “Protein is an increasingly scarce though essential nutrient, and protein production is increasingly fraught with issues such as overfishing and land use. Unibio has developed a technology that disrupts the traditional protein value chain, and we fully intend to take advantage of this technology to produce high-quality protein and protect the environment at the same time.”
The project is also backed by third-party investors, the companies said.
Unibio is a leading Danish industrial biotechnology company with core competences within microbial fermentation technologies. In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark, Unibio developed an innovative technology – the vertical U-Loop fermentation technology – allowing the introduction of new sustainable protein production methods. Unibio’s unique fermentation technology is based on converting natural gas (methane) into a highly concentrated protein product, Uniprotein, by microbial fermentation.