UniBio is a pioneering venture operating in the biotechnology sector with core competences within fermentation technologies. The company owns the rights to a unique fermentation technology that has been developed in co-operation with a leading University in this field and is the result of over 30 years of research and development activities.

The concept underlying UniBio’s technology is brilliantly simple: bio-gas (methane) can be converted into a highly concentrated protein product which can be used as a direct supplement in feed for animals. It can substitute fishmeal, which is becoming more and more scarce despite its status as a traditional feed component. UniBio hopes to become the world market leader within protein production (based on methanotrophic bacteria), partly by own production and partly by licensing the production technology to international investors wishing to establish large-scale production plants using surplus gas from oil production.

Their mission is to provide sustainable biotechnological innovations to overcome the food challenge faced by the growing global population. UniBio believes in energy-efficient and CO2-reduced production methods to minimize the use of scarce natural resources. They believe that their science-based innovations can provide answers to some of the world´s most pressing challenges and sustain the planet for future generations. UniBio’s dedication to the planet is commendable – they are adamant that their success “shall be based on knowledge and skill, respect for our planet’s natural resources and deference to all its inhabitants”.

Their product has fantastic sustainability implications for the feed sector: It is produced based on fermentation of a microbial culture using methane as feedstock. It is an organic product and can easily be produced in very large scale. They make use of methane, which would otherwise be wasted or used in less efficient processes. The quality of their product is very high, and it can easily replace high-value proteins like super-prime fishmeal and highly concentrated soy products. Crucially, though, large-scale adoption of UniBio’s product will mean the oceans will not be overfished, rainforest will not be cleared, and methane gasses can be re-purposed into something useful.

UniBio has lofty aspirations; they are aware that they and their partners will require an investment of millions of pounds to build the production capacity needed to realise the ambitions of the potential collaboration – that said, the potential revenue generation will be counted in hundreds of millions of pounds over the years to come. This is where Project X comes in, thanks to the FEED-X Programme.

Robert van den Breemer, Procurement Director at Skretting, says the following:

“The available volumes, start-up stage product pricing and low value-chain commitment of alternative ingredients today remain a limitation towards meeting the needs to the aquaculture industry in the future. We believe that our commitment with UniBio brings us another step closer towards ensuring the sustainable future of the aquaculture industry and fulfilling Skretting’s mission of ‘Feeding the Future’.”

At Project X, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with the makers of such an important innovation – and it looks like UniBio feels the same way. A representative of the company shared that they were “impressed with Project X’s strategic intent”, noting that they have “experienced engaged and active collaboration from the FEED-X team.”

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