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MicroHarvest launches novel aquafeed pilot plant in Portugal

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Single-cell protein producer MicroHarvest hasopened a pilot plant facility in Lisbon, Portugal – moving the startup closer to commercialisation, and allowing prototype production and testing of aquafeed production runs.

Scientist in the pilot plant facility working
Look into MicroHarvest's newly constructed aqua feed pilot plant in Lisbon

© MicroHarvest

MicroHarvest, an industrial biotechnology company focused on advancing sustainable protein production for use in animal feeds and products for human consumption, has confirmed a partnership with a contract manufacturer, allowing it to scale to 1 tonne of protein per day at record speed.

Production facilities

MicroHarvest has built and opened a pilot plant facility in Lisbon – enabling the company to produce single-cell protein products.

The official launch of the pilot facility, marked by an event held on 16 November and attended by partners and investors, is a significant milestone in its mission to reshape the landscape of sustainable food production.

The pilot facility is critical for MicroHarvest reaching commercialisation and market availability. The facility will produce protein samples for customers, allowing the company to further develop its technology and test production runs before bringing them to commercial scale.

Luísa Cruz, CTO of MicroHarvest, noted in a press release: "This pilot plant serves as tangible evidence of the scalability of our process. With a lower investment when compared to alternative technologies, and within a mere 200 square meters, we can achieve a daily production of 25 kg."

Partnership and scale up

Simultaneously, after successfully transferring the technology and scaling up production to reach daily outputs in tonnes, the team engaged a commercial production partner.

COO Jonathan Roberz emphasised: "The speed at which we accomplished this demonstrates that we have the right team and the right technology to make sustainable protein readily available at scale. This is of crucial importance as our food systems' ecological footprint must be minimised to remain within our planetary boundaries."

Katelijne Bekers, CEO of MicroHarvest, commented: "Within just six months of opening our Lisbon office, our team has doubled in size, and we've achieved an impressive feat by constructing the pilot plant in record time – a truly remarkable journey. Within the next three months, we are on track to introduce our first product to the market. These milestones underscore our commitment to driving real impact by bringing commercially competitive, consistent, and sustainable ingredients to market fast."

MicroHarvest’s proprietary technology enables the sustainable production of high-quality protein ingredients containing over 60 percent raw protein within just 24 hours. They claim that their process significantly reduces resource consumption compared to conventional methods and has the potential to reshape the industry. In this MicroHarvest promises to provide scalable, and consistent protein solutions applicable across diverse sectors, including feed, pet food, and human food.

The company's biomass fermentation technology has also gained significant attention after being awarded the Bloomberg NEF Pioneers Award earlier this year.

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