DEEP BRANCH, a UK-based biotech firm harnessing waste CO2 to create protein, has secured €2.5m funding from the European Innovation Council.

The company is working with Drax power station to develop its technology, which creates a single-cell protein called Proton, which it says has a nutritional profile comparable with fishmeal.

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It has proven its technology on a smaller scale, and this latest funding will help scale up production and expedite performance testing.

The firm will build a new facility at the Netherlands-based Brightlands Chemelot Campus, a hub for circular chemistry and chemical processes, which Deep Branch expects to be operational by Q2 2021.


Peter Rowe, chief executive of Deep Branch, said: “In the UK, and in Europe, poultry and farmed fish are usually fed on fishmeal and soy, which is mainly imported from South America and has a huge environmental impact.

“We are developing a new, sustainable way of producing animal feed, which reduces CO2 emissions by more than 90%, compared to the currently used protein sources.

“Setting up the pilot plant represents an important next step in finding the perfect recipe for Proton that meets the requirements of feed producers.

Animal feed

“We’ll be undertaking further trials with BioMar and AB Agri, two leading animal feed companies that support the salmon and poultry farming industries.

“Thanks to the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation support, we can expand our production capacity to match the volumes that feed producers need to run these trials.

“Brightlands Chemelot Campus is the ideal location for our Scale-Up Centre, and there is a clear alignment between our goals and the facility’s overall ambitions for CO2 recycling and sustainable hydrogen use.

Scale up

“The industrial site gives us the ability to scale up quickly and has room for a large-scale production facility as well as the raw materials to create Proton. We have access to everything we need.”

Bert Kip, CEO of Brightlands Chemelot Campus, said: “Deep Branch fits into our sustainable profile perfectly, and is the first organisation at this campus that is active in gas fermentation. This is another area where we can develop a leading position.”