Ground-breaking exploration into producing single cell protein from CO2 and hydrogen

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Our responsible proteins business, Livalta, aims to improve global food production. This means improving the performance of feed and food protein ingredients and finding more responsible ways to produce them. It continuously assesses new technologies to see whether these have the potential to produce responsible proteins at the scale, quality and cost required.  

AB Agri and Livalta are currently working with our partners at the REACT-FIRST project exploring the viability of a new type of single-cell protein, Proton™, produced from CO2 and hydrogen.  

Our aim is to create a scalable production “blueprint” by transforming clean CO2 emissions and hydrogen into a responsible and nutritionally optimal protein. If successful, this could become another element of a more responsible agrifood system and an important step towards a net zero industry.     

REACT-FIRST was launched in July 2020 with £3 million of funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The project is led by carbon recycling biotech company Deep Branch, and brings together a consortium of ten partners covering the whole value chain:  

  • Science and technology (Deep Branch, Nottingham Trent University, University of Nottingham, University of Stirling, Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, University of Edinburgh) 
  • Energy generation (Drax) 
  • Feed producers (Livalta/ AB Agri and BioMar)  
  • End consumer insight (Sainsbury’s). 

AB Agri’s Innovation Director, Nell Masey O'Neill, explained: “Our role in REACT-FIRST is to complement the work of the consortium’s technology and science partners with our insights into animal feed markets, customer needs and end-consumer demands.” 

Director of Livalta, Valerie Schuster, said: “By growing single-cell protein using clean CO2 emissions from industry, this technology creates a new scalable and circular protein, which has the potential to help feed manufacturers and farmers improve animal nutrition and wellbeing via a high-quality ingredient that is consistent and can easily be traced back to its origins.” 

Deep Branch’s CEO Peter Rowe said: “REACT-FIRST will obtain critical data about cost, digestibility, nutritional quality and carbon footprint of Proton™. Each of the project’s partners is playing an active role in the development of the process and generation of this critical data, harnessing their involvement and shared knowledge in the field of carbon emissions, the production supply chain, and ground-breaking biotechnology and technology.”