Company has double mission: to capture carbon that would otherwise go into our atmosphere and also to provide a sustainable alternative to soy-based feedstock often linked to deforestation.
Deep Branch is a UK-based startup that aims to cut the environmental footprint of agriculture by creating animal feed made out of CO2. Thier novel idea involves feeding carbon and hydrogen to a micro-organism in a fermentation process that's similar to that of a brewery. However, instead of beer, the result is a high-value protein that can be dried and converted into animal feed.
Finding sustainable alternatives to natural sources of protein - such as soy which is linked to deforestation in the Amazon and fishmeal which requires vast amounts of wild-caught fish to produce - is key to minimizing the massive environmental impact of livestock diets.
The protein created by Deep Branch holds great potential to provide such an alternative as it relies on recycling CO2 from industrial emitters, without requiring land and other natural resources to produce it.
“There are big sustainability drawbacks from the proteins we currently use to produce animal products like salmon fillets and chicken drumsticks, but we can produce a high-quality protein without requiring any arable land or fish,” said Deep Branch co-founder, Peter Rowe.
The company has already attracted support from leading animal feed companies in Europe, BioMar and AB Agri, and is close to agreeing to build its first commercial production facility in Norway.
Measured by their planet-warming power, methane-filled livestock belches are the equivalent of 850 coal plants burning year-round. Estimates vary, but livestock are reckoned to be responsible for up to 14% of all greenhouse emissions and methane, belched out by ruminants, accounts for more than a third of the total emissions from agriculture. Hardly surprising, when you discover that the average ruminant produces 250-500 litres of methane a day. But the good news is that scientists have found that spicing up cattle feed with a little seaweed can dramatically reduce the methane they produce. More...