25 June 2021
The Danish company Unibio’s unique protein source – Uniprotein® – is on its way to the feed market. A new CEO has been appointed, and the first full-scale production facilities are in operation. In short, exciting times are indeed ahead for our ValueWaste project partner.
It can be hard to wrap your head around the idea of eating protein developed out of air. But that is nonetheless the extremely simplified explanation of Unibio’s Uniprotein® product. The new protein source has been developed from bacteria growing and multiplying by eating methane gas from biowaste. The end product takes the form of a free-flowing reddish brown granule.
This spring, Unibio’s unique protein source has been tested as feed for piglets at TestPig, the Danish Pig Advisory Center in Herning, in cooperation with Aarhus University, Danish Agro, DTU Aqua and Biomar in a project funded by GUDP, the Green Development and Demonstration Programme, and the conclusion is clear: Uniprotein® passes without any problem the test as partial replacement of potato protein and prime fishmeal. Uniprotein® is organic and highly sustainable compared with similar products. It is bio-industrially produced through a fermentation process with methane as feedstock, thus requiring no agricultural land and not contributing to overfishing and fish stock depletion, unlike traditional feed.
“It is extremely important for us to be able to demonstrate that the product we have worked on for so many years works. It performs very well and can replace other high-value protein sources in feed. It holds huge potential in itself,” says Michael Jensen, Senior Vice President of Unibio.
So far Unibio has used its test facilities in Kalundborg, Denmark. But now the first full-scale production facilities are in operation in Russia. And the customers are waiting, the Senior Vice President states.
“Our Russian production facilities are now up and running and have started producing the product, and a number of farmers are now testing the new feed. We have a long list of customers waiting for the product, which we can finally produce and send to the customers. We have just sent four tonnes of feed to Danish Agro – which will be mixed into the traditional feed at an inclusion level of 6 per cent, which is the optimal ratio according to the tests of the spring,” says Michael Jensen.
According to Michael Jensen there are also plans for a full-scale plant in Qatar.
These next chapters in Unibio’s development are accompanied by other big news: Recently, the company announced that it has appointed David Henstrom as its new CEO.
This follows the decision by Henrik Busch-Larsen, the former CEO and member of the founding family, to step down from his role as CEO to pursue other business interests. Henrik will continue to serve as a board member of the company and remains one of its major shareholders.
David Henstrom joins Unibio from Cargill, the global food and nutrition giant, where he has worked since 1994 across a range of business units, most recently as Vice President and Managing Director for Growth Ventures and Commercial Excellence at the Salt Group. His long track record across Cargill’s food and nutrition businesses includes leading the formation of a joint venture with PURIS Proteins, which enabled Cargill’s entry into the pea protein business.
“Henrik has been the driving force behind Unibio for more than a decade, and we owe him an immense debt of gratitude; we simply would not be here without him. I am delighted that Henrik will continue to stay involved with the company. I would also like to welcome David Henstrom to the team. He has an exemplary track record of driving highly specialized food and nutrition businesses across Cargill’s portfolio worldwide, and his skills and experience will be invaluable as we continue the global rollout of mass production of Uniprotein®, our leading sustainable protein,” Board Chairman Jan Boeg Hansen has stated in a recent press release.
The ambitions of Unibio do not stop with feed for pigs, chickens, pets, ruminants and fish.
“It is evident that more and more people live on this planet. The demand for new protein sources will only grow. We therefore also work on having the very sustainable Uniprotein® approved for human consumption in the EU. This will take a while, but the potential is huge,” says Senior Vice President Michael Jensen.
Watch a small video that explains the production of Uniprotein® here.
Unibio is a member of Food & Bio Cluster Denmark – and a project partner in the ValueWaste project that aims to use urban biowaste and biogas to develop new protein in two ways – in the form of insects in Spain and bacteria in Denmark. ValueWaste is a Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union. Read more about ValueWaste.
Are you ready for protein made from methane-eating bacteria? Denmark’s piglets are