Fish feed from forest and food side streams

November 16, 2019 |

In Finland, VTT’s deep-tech incubator teams come up with two solutions to meet the need for new sustainable fish feed. Enifer Bio’s solution is based on the use of dilute side streams from the agro- and forest industries, and Volare’s solution focuses on the valorisation of food-industry side streams.

The forest industry previously produced large volumes of spent sulfite liquor. A unique process was developed in Finland to grow a micro-fungus called Paecilomyces variotii in the liquor, which could then be used as animal feed.

“The practice was abandoned, as the pulp industry evolved so that no more liquor was produced. Other industrial sectors, however, are still producing similar side streams. We have now modernised the process and begun to use it to produce fish feed. Both investors and suppliers have shown interest in the idea, and we are currently in negotiations about setting up a production line in Finland”, explains Senior Scientist Simo Ellilä from VTT.

Enifer Bio has its sights set on the global market. The team is working on making the technique compatible with, for example, sugarcane vinasse, which could open up a market worth EUR 3 billion in Brazil alone.

The Volare team is working with food-industry side streams, such as potato peels and stale bread, but almost any ingredient can be used as long as it complies with the law.

“We can turn these ingredients into affordable animal feed with a composition that satisfies the regulations. This also helps to reduce waste. There are enough ingredients to build a business worth several hundreds of millions of euros in the Nordic countries. Of course, we ultimately want to go global”, explains VTT’s Research Scientist Tuure Parviainen.

“We are currently piloting the technology. The next step is to build a large-scale prototype and explore commercial options. Our goal is a scalable solution that can make a big impact globally”, adds VTT’s Senior Scientist Matti Tähtinen.

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