Tanja van Dinteren will act as both chief financial officer and chief operating officer for Deep Branch.
Tanja van Dinteren will act as both chief financial officer and chief operating officer for Deep Branch.

Protein-from-gas developer Deep Branch makes key hire

New CFO/COO has the experience to help us grow, says boss of company aiming to produce huge volumes of aquafeed ingredient

Published

A company planning to grow thousands of tonnes of salmon feed protein by feeding microbes on carbon dioxide and other gases has appointed a key new executive.

Tanja van Dinteren will take on the dual role of chief financial officer and chief operating officer for UK-Dutch start-up Deep Branch.

As well as leading the planning, implementation and managing of all Deep Branch’s financial activities, Van Dinteren will be responsible for fostering a positive work environment as the company transitions from start-up to scale-up.

Van Dinteren started her career with leading professional services firm KPMG and spent over eight years with renewable energy group ENGIE in various roles, including CFO for ENGIE Energy in the Netherlands.

She replaces Deep Branch’s former CFO, Lisa Thomas, who has stepped back from executive responsibilities to explore opportunities requiring less international travel. Deep Branch said Thomas will continue to support the company in an advisory capacity.

600,000 tonnes by 2030

Deep Branch as ambitious plans to produce up to 600,000 tonnes of single cell protein (SCP) per year for aquafeed and other markets by 2030.

The company’s “Proton” branded SCP is produced by growing microbes fed a combination of gases - carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen – along with an ammonia solution for nitrogen, and trace elements.

Proton contains 65-70% protein, higher than soy or peas and around the same level as plant protein concentrates and fish meal, but with a 60% smaller carbon footprint than soy protein concentrate.

Deep Branch currently operates a two-tonnes-per-year pilot facility at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in the Netherlands and is planning a market launch facility by 2025 that can produce about 250 tonnes per annum on a dry matter basis, enabling larger product tests.

After that, it aims for a first 60,000 tonnes per annum commercial facility, most likely in northern Europe, which will scale into full production by 2029.

Renewable energy

The requirement for hydrogen and oxygen, coupled with Deep Branch’s focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the feed industry, means that the facility is likely to be at a site where renewable energy is generated and hydrogen and oxygen are made by using the electricity to split water.

Speaking about Van Dinteren’s appointment, Deep Branch chief executive Peter Rowe said: “As a fast-growing company, we must balance being flexible, recognising that roles and responsibilities can change as we grow, and remaining structured to ensure stability.

“As we enter a new chapter of our growth, we decided it was time to bring in some new experience and skills and better define the scope of work for our leadership team.

“We needed a candidate for our new CFO/COO hybrid role that was comfortable working in a dynamic start-up culture and understood how and why to evolve the company into a more mature organisation as we grow. This meant that we required someone with experience in larger, rapid-growth organisations comfortable with changes happening quickly. I’m confident we have this person in Tanja.”

Read more about Deep Branch in the current issue of Fish Farming Expert online magazine.