Nutreco Feed Tech Challenge 2018

Gathering votes
20 votes
Submit full business case
Gathering votes
Top 10 selection
Full business case submitted

Converting industrial CO2 into feed and food

Population growth, climate change, and overfishing are some of the global factors driving the need to develop novel efficiency improvements between feed and farm. NovoNutrients’s unique, aerobic gas fermentation process transforms industrial CO2 emissions into low-cost, high-value animal and aquaculture feed ingredients.

The idea (and patents, some pending) grows out of the team’s decade spent working on biofuels and bioplastics: it is a defined set of microbial consortia that grow via gas fermentation. Gas fermentation is itself an emerging technology for bio-production, including, in our case, producing single cell protein (“SCP”) for feed. For context, note that Calysta and Cargill have a joint venture to ferment commodity methane into SCP. Our flavor of SCP gas fermentation, on the other hand, primarily captures and utilizes a waste stream: carbon dioxide from industrial emission gases.

Aerobic, chemoautotrophic bacteria are central to our consortia technology idea. Like plants, these key chemoautotrophs employ the Rubisco enzyme and the Calvin cycle to transform inorganic hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2 into organic glucose (C6H12O6). Unlike plants, the energy to drive the cycle comes not from light, but from chemical energy in the form of hydrogen. Similarly to other living things, these bacteria use the resulting glucose, along with nitrogen and other elements, to produce amino acids, carbohydrates, fatty acids, and everything else needed for life. In other words, they can take CO2 as the primary feedstock and produce commercially important bulk protein meals for aquaculture and feeding other animals.

Beyond directly constituting nutrients, these bacteria are also the basis for the growth other beneficial and known nutritious microbes in designed consortia. Our versatile consortia can be configured to produce varying nutrients and nutrient levels. Moreover, for markets that are open to GMO feed, we can include one or more microbes that have each been modified by synthetic biology to contain significant amounts of what has previously been defined as a feed additive or micronutrient. For markets that avoid GMO feed, these specific substances can be separated and extracted from the GMO biomass, so that they will be considered non-GMO feed additives. We have active genetics programs in carotenoids, (co)enzymes, vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and other targets.

NovoNutrients transforms CO2 from a problem waste into valuable products. Most important among them is an economical, supply-stable fishmeal replacement that, unlike fishmeal, can be further improved with each product cycle.

Describe the problem your company wishes to solve and how your product or service will solve it

Ingredients Are Costly: the current and projected costs of feedstocks have made formulated feeds a costly proposition, across all species groups.Among the most expensive components are proteins (high-performance protein meals, concentrates, and isolates), as well as carotenoids, (co)enzymes, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Gone are the days when the poultry and swine industries could afford to source a significant fraction of global fishmeal, for example.

Too Few Fish: Aquaculture today relies heavily on feeding fish to fish, in the form of marine ingredients: fishmeal and fish oil. Both fishmeal and fish oil are made from catching and processing certain types of small, oily, pelagic fish, notably the Peruvian anchoveta, but also other species, including herring and menhaden. Currently, a third of global wild fish harvest goes towards fishmeal. Moreover, according to FAO estimates, “the world will need about eight times more aquaculture feed than today by the end of the [twenty-first] century which translates into 400 million tonnes.”

Fishmeal is critical because it is high in complete protein, containing all ten essential amino acids required by fish. But with prices ranging between €1250 to €1700 per tonne, fishmeal is also aquafeed’s most costly ingredient. The industry has long been unable to increase fishmeal because of the natural and regulatory limits of various reduction fisheries. For reliant industries, fishmeal’s price is too high and its supply too tight and volatile. Plant-based fishmeal alternatives, including meals and concentrates from animals, grains, and oilseeds, while lower in cost, do not fulfil aquaculture’s protein and amino acid requirements. They also introduce anti-nutritional factors. The only way to produce larger global quantities of aquafeed is to bring to market entirely new, cost competitive proteins with nutritional power and range that is comparable to that of fishmeal.

Too Much Carbon. Globally, over 36 billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted annually, most of which ends up in the atmosphere, where it and other greenhouse gases are warming the planet to unsustainable levels. Unfortunately, no other technology has been developed that can economically utilize captured, waste carbon gases. However, NovoNutrients views CO2 is an untapped, abundant, low-cost feedstock for its production of fishmeal alternatives and other high-value products.

Describe other business assistance that you are seeking from Nutreco

We see Nutreco as a major, potential customer. Our three product families (natural meals, GMO enhanced meals, and natural feed additives) could benefit from assistance from Nutreco: (1) Nutreco’s 11 research centers for both aquaculture and livestock could assist us in additional types of trials and validation reports, since one would expect the single, prize trial is not fully comprehensive across all the commercially species, measurements, and products relevant to us. (2) If Nutreco’s research centers have an interest in grant-funding for research, we would like to jointly pursue grants for projects that would take advantage of the complementary assets and strengths of the centers and our firm.  (3) Assistance from Nutreco in product development. Nutreco’s NutriOpt service (or its constituent parts) should also be used “in reverse”, to make decisions about which potential ingredient and additive products to prioritize in our development – or which specific or novel, potential product features to target for development or improvement – in order to maximize real-world profitability in the value chain, with and around the farmer.

Are you available to participate in the final event in the Netherlands 28, 29, and 30 May? All expenses will be covered by Nutreco


Describe how the prize - a validation trial in our facilities - could boost the development of your business

Validation trials with reputable and capable partners are the life blood of all novel feed ingredient businesses. One with Nutreco would carry significant weight in our efforts to develop our business through persuasive engagement with investors, regulators, feed mill customers, distributors, brokers, and feed end users. We will have to conduct validation trials, in any case. Doing so with Nutreco has practical, reputational, and strategic advantages over doing so with a second-tier feed company. One would hope it would lead to a much longer relationship.

If you already have a website for your business, please share the URL

Tagged users
edited on Apr 2, 2018 by David Tze

Saravanan Subramanian 4 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 0

Jean-Baptiste Daniel 4 months ago

Dear Heyward, Thanks for submitting your idea. I would be interesting to know more about the process you use to convert industrial CO2. Are you capturing the CO2 from coal power station? What type of process do you use? Post-combustion or other techniques? Thanks in advance

Reply 0

David Tze 4 months ago

Please see LinkedIn inMail.

Reply 0

Ziv Dubinsky 4 months ago

Can CO2 emmitions from Insect growing incubators be a feed for the biomass? If so can cooperation with a manufacturer of insect growing equipment be good?

Reply 0

Heyward Robinson 4 months ago

The process can use any source of CO2. Economies of scale, however, strongly favor large, concentrated industrial sources. How much CO2 will a large insect operation emit?

Reply 0

teresa debesa 4 months ago

The idea has been progressed to the next milestone.

Reply 0

Khalil Safaei 4 months ago

Great idea! I voted.

Reply 0

teresa debesa 4 months ago

Status label added: Full business case submitted

Reply 0

Mario Miranda Lavarello 4 months ago

excellent attitude !!, now coming ahead the upwarding protein sources of meat production (poultry, swine, cattle, RAS Aquaponics or just RAS, can use their effluents, either to produce microalgaes, or produce biogas...of to feed hidroponics..
good project !!

Reply 0