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Deep Branch validates its technology using industrial-grade gases, moving a step closer to commercialization

April 20, 2023

Deep Branch, a creator of high-value ingredients for a more sustainable food system, has fully commissioned its mobile pilot unit (MPU) using CO2 produced in the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Carbon Craft project represents another crucial step in de-risking the company’s technology and enables the assessment of carbon dioxide and hydrogen as key feed-stocks to cultivate microbes in protein production via gas fermentation.

Deep Branch’s MPU is a custom-built, containerized version of its proprietary gas fermentation platform technology (R)evolve. It has been designed to take the company’s technology out of the lab and into the real world, enabling carbon dioxide and hydrogen sources to be validated for compatibility with the system. The MPU also features a built-in Enapter electrolyzer, allowing it to utilize hydrogen produced in real-time.

The latest MPU deployment sought to validate that carbon dioxide supplied to the local horticultural industry can also be used in protein generation via Deep Branch’s process. The Carbon Craft project was conducted in collaboration with OCAP, a subsidiary of Linde that supplies CO2 to greenhouses growing vegetables and flowers. This carbon dioxide originates from the Port of Rotterdam and is purified and supplied by OCAP via a pipeline.

Duijvestein, one of Europe’s leading tomato producers, also closely collaborated on the project. OCAP’s partnership with Duijvestein has enabled the grower to transition away from relying on natural gas as a CO2 and energy source, dramatically reducing its carbon footprint.

Long-term, the Carbon Craft project could inform the location of Deep Branch’s first commercial facility, with the Port of Rotterdam being a potential deployment location. Basing its first commercial facility in Rotterdam would enable the company to service the growing European aquaculture and livestock markets by providing feed producers with a protein ingredient with up to 90% less CO2 than conventional ingredients such as soy and fishmeal.

Commenting on the MPU’s journey so far, Rob Mansfield, Deep Branch’s Chief Technology Officer, explained, “The experience and outcomes from the Carbon Craft project will be used in parallel with our ongoing scale-up work at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus to inform engineering and operational considerations of a potential future commercial facility at the Port of Rotterdam.”

“We’re proud to partner with an innovative company such as Deep Branch that shares our commitment to sustainability," added Jacob Limbeek, CEO of OCAP. "By directly collaborating with end-users in the growing carbon tech industry, we can make a significant impact in the fight against climate change and create a more circular economy."

Before Carbon Craft, Deep Branch’s MPU was deployed on-site with Drax Power Group in Yorkshire, UK, as part of a UK government-funded project. The Polluters to Producers project showcased that carbon capture and storage-grade CO2 and hydrogen generated via an electrolyser can be used as feedstocks and was pivotal to the early phases of Deep Branch’s technological and commercial journey.

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