Deep Branch secures BEIS funding to scale proprietary fermentation platform

Source: press release, 7 June 2022      

The Deep Branch team – scientists and engineers who operate at the cutting edge of biotechnology
The Deep Branch team – scientists and engineers who operate at the cutting edge of biotechnology (photo: Deep Branch)

Deep Branch, a creator of sustainable, high-value food and feed ingredients, has secured GBP 4.8 million in funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) GBP 1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio. The funding is part of the GBP 20 million carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) Innovation 2.0 programme aimed at accelerating the deployment of next-generation CCUS technology in the UK.

The funding will be used to finance the Deep Blue C project, which will integrate carbon capture and low-carbon hydrogen ecosystems. Deep Blue C signifies an acceleration in Deep Branch’s growth as it commercialises its CO2-to-protein technology platform. Executing the project will enable the company to reduce the cost of design optimisations, lower capital expenditure and the cost of goods sold for its core fermentation process and improve downstream processing.

Deep Branch secured the funding in partnership with CPI, a leading independent deep tech innovation organisation that collaborates with partners in industry, academia, government and the investment community to accelerate the development and commercialisation of innovative products. The two partners have jointly developed a robust basis of safety for the process, which is already operating at a pilot scale.

Once the Deep Blue C project is completed, Deep Branch will deliver a feasibility study for its first commercial production unit for its single-cell protein Proton™, which is planned to go live in 2027. Deep Branch is planning multiple additional Proton™ production facilities, with an anticipated 600,000 tonnes per annum global capacity by 2030, utilising over one million tonnes of CO2 every year.

Commenting on securing the BEIS funding, Deep Branch’s CEO Pete Rowe says, “This grant builds on our Innovate UK funded project, which has enabled us to develop strong commercial partnerships at both ends of the value chain. These include Drax Power Group at its biomass power station and leading sustainable aquafeed producer BioMar.”

“Deep Blue C will result in a significant increase in the production efficiencies of Proton™. By reducing production costs as we scale, Proton™ will ensure a highly significant saving in carbon footprint for feed producers that switch from concentrated soybean meal or fishmeal, without an unjustifiable price premium,” Rowe adds.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands comments, “As we accelerate the UK’s energy independence by boosting clean, home-grown, affordable energy, it’s crucial that our industries reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. This investment will help them to not only cut emissions but also save money on energy bills, on top of supporting jobs by encouraging green innovation across the UK.”

Yvonne Armitage, Biotechnology Director at CPI, adds, “We’re excited to build on our solid working relationship with Deep Branch and collaborate with the company’s experts to develop new technology that will ultimately improve the health of our planet. We will bring a wealth of technical support to the Deep Blue C project, having supported many biotech companies to deliver incredible innovation projects.”