Breakthrough for cows: NovoNutrients achieves “beef-quality” protein from CO2 instead of cattle

May 16, 2022 |

Outperforms plant proteins, on path to deliver beef-level nutrition at soy cost

From California comes hard data on protein made from thin air, which is to say CO2 emissions. The good news, the quality is virtually identical to beef –  it’s “beef-quality protein, without the cow,” the company states.

NovoNutrients announced successful production of protein from carbon dioxide, with independent test data from Medallion Labs confirming that the protein ingredient outperformed published scores for conventional plant protein ingredients, like soy and pea protein concentrates and isolates used in meat substitute foods. It also outscored innovative new ingredients, like nutritional fungi protein. NovoNutrients Protein achieved a 1.14, equal to the score for beef, in Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) for ages three and up.  

Story relevance: CO2 emitters, financiers, hydrogen suppliers, process technology & scale-up partners, strategic off-takers in aquafeed, nutraceuticals, protein for humans, policy advocates, global manufacturing partners and more.

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Really from waste CO2 and hydrogen?

Yep, NovoNutrients technology takes the most abundant and inexpensive CO2-containing industrial emissions and hydrogen as its key inputs. From them, it makes a range of protein ingredients and products used for aquafeed, for people, and including high-value nutraceuticals, such as carotenoids. NovoNutrients recent collaborations, including a US oilfield company and a Japanese industrial firm, confirm that varied emissions can be cleanly transformed into protein. Worldwide, NovoNutrients is working with partners to advance carbon capture utilization and to produce ever larger protein samples. Discussions are underway to provide more partners with preferred, early access to the technology.

The NN backstory

Last August we reported that NovoNutrients closed a $4.7 million raise led by Hong Kong-based global venture firm, Happiness Capital. The company previously raised $4.3 million in venture backing, as well as a multiple of that in non-dilutive, corporate project funding commitments. NovoNutrients will use the project funding to complete its industrial pilot program, which captures CO2 emissions, at an oil and gas and/or cement-related plant. Those projects position NovoNutrients to start raising a series A financing later this year.

NovoNutrients plans to co-locate its bioreactors and systems at industrial sites that produce high-levels of the greenhouse gas CO2. At global scale, NovoNutrients plants have the potential to reduce those industrial CO2 emissions by gigatons.

We reported in September 2020 that the company was selected to test at Skretting’s Aquaculture Research Centre facilities, bringing ever closer their shared objective of removing barriers to sustainably fed, affordable food by 2025. NovoNutrients is among a handful of sustainable innovations given a pioneering level of support within Skretting. The explicit goal is striking a procurement contract through which Skretting would commit to purchases of NovoNutrients’ feed ingredients. In September 2020, the first product sample of bacterial protein meal was shipped to Skretting from NovoNutrients’ Silicon Valley lab. In 2021, samples originated from NovoNutrients’ emissions pilot.

“Through cooperation with industry leader, Skretting, NovoNutrients’ path to large-scale manufacturing and adoption is greatly smoothed and shortened. We are thrilled to see this deep push for nutrition innovation. We can feed fish and also push quickly to offer our protein to plant-based meat companies, supplementing or replacing their use of soy and peas,” said NovoNutrients CEO, David Tze

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Delivering beef-quality protein without the cow – while consuming CO2 – is a leap forward for the exploding, global middle class and for the planet,” said David Tze, CEO of NovoNutrients. “We invite partners to join us, as we ascend to commercialization.”

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