Sustainable protein company Unibio has signed a partnership agreement with Stafilies, the holding company of Protelux, to further deepen their collaboration in developing the industrial-scale production of its high-quality Uniprotein at Protelux.
Protelux is the first industrial plant that has brought Unibio’s patented U-Loop continuous-flow fermentation process into industrial-scale production. Protelux is located in Ivangorod, Russia, close to the border with Estonia, an EU member state. This location has access to cost-effective natural gas, as well as proximity to the European Union and the Baltic Sea for shipping.
Protelux currently has an installed capacity of 6,000 tons of Uniprotein per year, which can be scaled up to 20,000 ton. Under the agreement, Stafilies, the Protelux parent company, will buy a shareholding in Unibio in exchange for cash and intellectual property. The intellectual property includes all of the knowledge gained over the past five years of how to install and operate industrial-scale production of Uniprotein. Unibio has also secured an option to acquire a stake in Protelux in the future.
Unibio has developed an innovative process that allows the cost-effective production of high-quality protein using microbial continuous-flow fermentation with natural gas or methane as the primary feedstock. Unibio’s technology is highly resource efficient in respect of land and water usage and mimics microbial consumption of gas emitted by decaying plant material that happens every day in nature. Uniprotein has been approved by the EU for animal and fish feed and is certified organic by Organic Farmers & Growers, an organic certification control body approved by the UK Government.
One of the key challenges for any protein technology is to upscale production from the laboratory to an industrial setting. Since 2016, Unibio and Stafilies have worked closely together developing solutions and operational guidelines that will benefit future projects and plants all over the world. With the commencement of industrial scale production at Protelux, Unibio will benefit from being able to showcase the proven technology and processes to potential partners and customers. It will also use the facility to accelerate further product and production improvements and the global roll-out of its technology.
“Global population growth has made protein scarcity a critical issue, and unsustainable soy production and uncontrolled extraction of wild fish for fishmeal are causing major environmental degradation. After many years under development, Uniprotein is now in full industrial scale production and is ready to help address the world’s rapidly growing protein demand. The collaboration with Protelux is consistent with our strategy of building a presence where natural gas is in abundance and may be revalued,” said Jan Boeg Hansen, chairman of the board, Unibio.
“We are proud of all the technological innovation and hard work that we have put into scaling up production of Uniprotein at our Protelux facility. The complex challenge of taking these ground-breaking processes and successfully commissioning them at scale should not be underestimated and has been the key hurdle where many other technologies have failed. We have always had faith in the importance of Uniprotein as a critical input for the meat and fish farming industries. We are delighted to become a shareholder in Unibio and build further on their success,” said Mikhail Serdtsev, founding shareholder, Protelux.