Aquafeed protein producer plans 100,000-tonne plant in Saudi Arabia
Feed-from-gas company Calysseo hopes SCP facility will be open by 2026
Calysseo, which produces single cell protein (SCP) for aquafeed, today announced that it intends to build a facility in Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia in partnership with business and projects development company Food Caravan. It will be five times the size of Calysseo’s 20,000-tonnes-per-year capacity SCP plant in Chongqing, China.
Calysseo, a joint venture between US-based alternative protein company Calysta and Chinese animal nutrition leader Adisseo, said advanced discussions and detailed planning are under way between the partners, who have formalised their intent to move forward with a development in the country.
The partnership is aiming to build a 100,000 tonne-capacity fermenter in Saudi Arabia to produce Calysta’s novel protein ingredients, made from bacteria that feed on methane (natural gas).
Operational by 2026
It is hoped the facility could become operational by the end of 2026, pending necessary construction and approvals.
Today’s announcement comes after Calysseo successfully switched on its maiden 20,000 tonne fermenter in China, which will produce FeedKind Aqua protein for the aquaculture market.
Alan Shaw, chief executive and co-founder of Calysta, said: “Our mission is to help the world meet one of its most pressing goals – feeding a global population that’s set to hit 10 billion by 2050. To do that, we need more sustainable protein, and to produce protein in places we are not currently able to. That’s what’s so exciting about the possibility of a Calysseo facility in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).
“This would be our second industrial-scale plant and an important step on delivering enough sustainable protein to meet growing and pressing global demand.
“Our patented fermentation technology is proven to produce a high-quality protein ingredient and thanks to the efficiencies of using a naturally occurring bacteria process, we are ready to rapidly scale up and meet that demand.”
No arable land, very little water
Because Calysta’s bacteria feed on methane, its protein ingredients are produced without the need for animal or plant matter. The process requires almost no water and no arable land, helping preserve biodiversity.
Jean-Marc Dublanc, chief executive of Adisseo, part of the Sinochem Group, said: “Today’s announcement is another significant milestone as we quickly move towards more sustainable forms of producing protein. Calysseo is something we’re incredibly proud of, we’re committed to building on this valuable partnership with Calysta as we focus on bringing the next phase of development forward.
“Together with Calysta, we share an ongoing commitment to improving the security and sustainability of the feed ingredient market, our facilities fulfil a considerable part of that promise.”
A gas allocation from the KSA’s Ministry of Energy has been received and a site has been nominated by the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu. The project is being supported by the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and the National Industrial Development Centre.
Validated in trials
Calysta said its protein ingredients have been validated in several independent trials both with academics and professionals. Its FeedKind Aqua ingredient for use in aquaculture has been shown to be effective as a functional, nutritious feed ingredient in extensive trials across several popular aquaculture species, including seabass, bream, largemouth bass, and salmon.
Thailand’s Kasetsart University recently found distinct benefits for shrimp, saying FeedKind promotes strong, healthy growth, while also helping activate shrimp’s immune response to Vibrio, the causative agent of Early Mortality Syndrome.
Calysta’s protein platform is also approved for use in livestock feeds and pet food across several markets across the world.
'A paradigm shift for the world'
Dennis Leong, co-managing director of Calysseo, said: “The Kingdom as a protein producer is a paradigm shift for the world. We’re excited to progress plans to move forward with our second Calysseo facility, so soon after announcing start up activities at our Chongqing factory in China. Another milestone is exciting, expanding a new era of food and feed security.”
Saleh Al-Shabnan, chief of Food Caravan, which is active in different fields of protein and animal feed, added: “From a national perspective, this project comes in full alignment with the Saudi 2030 vision.
“It also complements the Kingdom’s initiatives to ensure food security, reduce global emissions, create jobs for Saudi nationals and bring advanced technology to the Kingdom. Not to mention it’s a disruptive solution to the food supply chain globally.”