Unibio, a biotechnology company with advanced technology for producing single-cell protein from natural gas, recently announced the successful opening of its first production facility in Kalundborg, Denmark, marking a significant milestone in the company’s development.
Unibio chief executive officer Henrik Busch-Larsen said, “The crucial advantage of UniProtein is that the technology is scalable and environmentally friendly compared with fish meal and soy protein. We can produce natural protein in a plant using methane gas, and therefore, the production of UniProtein is not limited by fishing quotas or the use of pesticides, and it is weather-independent. Unibio’s technology, thus, provides animal feed producers access to a sustainable protein source of very high quality."
Unibio is the developer of an innovative single-cell protein production technology called the U-Loop technology, which converts natural gas into a highly concentrated protein for sustainable food production targeting the animal compound feed markets.
The protein-rich biomass (72.9% protein) in the product can be used as a direct supplement in animal feed. The key product characteristics include:
* Developed naturally without any genetic manipulation;
* Long shelf life and stable production process;
* High protein quality allows for a more efficient diet with fewer quantities required, thus minimizing nitrogen excretion;
* Already tested as feed for salmon, calves, pigs and chickens, with positive results in terms of acceptance and growth rates, and
* Approved by the European Union as an ingredient in animal feed.
The production facility has a capacity to produce up to 80 metric tons of product per year. Unibio said all output from the plant has been sold to Vestjyllands Andel, an animal feed manufacturer in Denmark, as part of an offtake agreement signed earlier in the year.
In addition, Unibio signed its first license agreement with a client based in Eastern Europe earlier this year, with the target to supply UniProtein to the European and Russian markets. As a result of this agreement, a second full-size commercial plant is planned and expected to be completed and producing product by the second half of 2017.
Busch-Larsen said, “With the recent completion of the final upgrades to our technology and the completion of the plant, we are ready to commence the commercial roll-out and deliver on our agreement with Vestjyllands Andel. We have been encouraged by the increasing number of inquiries to license our technology and look forward to continue to work towards the global roll-out of our technology. “
In October, the company announced the completion of final upgrades in its production processes related to achieving high gas transfer in the U-Loop technology that would lead to significant improvements in yields from the fermentation process. The patented technology provides the optimal conditions for the bacteria to grow by continuously adding oxygen, natural gas, catalysts and minerals. Natural gas (methane) is converted into a highly concentrated protein source.