Novo Nordisk, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations To Fund CO2-Into-Protein R&D Project

Novo Nordisk, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations To Fund CO2-Into-Protein R&D Project - Carbon Herald

Denmark-based Novo Nordisk Foundation has joined forces with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide DKK 200 million (approx. US$29 million) over a two-year period for a research and development (R&D) project aimed at creating a sustainable source of protein for human food derived from CO2.

With the move, the consortium seeks to address rising global problems with food insecurity and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, the Novo Nordisk Foundation said in a statement.

The R&D activities will be carried out by biotech company Novozymes A/S and carbon emission reduction technologies specialist Topsoe A/S, Washington University in St. Louis in the USA and the Novo Nordisk Foundation CO2 Research Center (CORC) at Aarhus University in Denmark.

“This has the potential to be the first step towards a novel bioeconomy providing a more sustainable, safe and stable food production, reducing the strain on nature’s resources in multiple ways,” Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, said about the project.

Relevant: Solar Foods Rolls Out Solein, A Revolutionary Sustainable Protein

The consortium partners will explore the possibility of processing CO2 into acetate – or vinegar, a well-known substance already present in the metabolism of the microorganisms used for fermentation – which can then be used to produce proteins for direct use in human food.

Thus, an alternative to animal proteins would be created, which would help reduce the strain on the planet’s natural resources by meat and dairy production, according to the statement.

Furthermore, acetate derived from CO2 could replace sugar in the fermentation process, which would free up substantial agricultural areas currently used for sugar production.

As a first step, the consortium plans to optimize and evaluate three potential production technologies and mature them, with the goal to reach demonstration scale (TRL 6 or above) within two years.

The partners will look to create synergy in the consortium in terms of technologies and already existing infrastructure, which is expected to significantly speed up the upscaling process.

If the initial two-year stage is successful, the funding partners may extend their support into later stages of the project.

Read more: NovoNutrients Scales Up Production Of Carotenoids Protein From Industrial Carbon

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