Teesside has been chosen as the base for a £30m fish food factory which will create new jobs.
US-based Calysta teamed up with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), Wilton, to develop a new fish food to replace fishmeal, with around 40 new jobs in the pipeline – and more in the supply chain.
Calysta will develop the production process for FeedKind protein – a new, natural, safe, non-GMO sustainable fish feed ingredient is approved for sale in the European Union – which reduce the aquaculture industry’s use of fishmeal.
Calysta, based in California, has received a conditional award of up to £2.8m Exceptional Regional Growth Fund (eRGF) grant subject to due diligence from the government.
This will contribute to a £30m first-phase investment over ten years by Calysta to develop a Market Introduction Facility to undertake R&D critical to commercialise FeedKind and develop the technology for other applications.
The project is expected to both safeguard and create up to 39 positions in science, engineering and operations, along with indirect jobs benefits in construction and the supply chain.
Calysta plans to locate a novel loop reactor adjacent to CPI’s existing National Industrial Biotechnology Facility. This loop reactor will incorporate Calysta’s proprietary, best-in-class gas fermentation technology.
Calysta president and CEO Alan Shaw said: “The eRGF grant is a major vote of confidence for us from the UK Government.
“After looking at potential sites around Europe, we look forward to building Calysta’s first plant in Teesside.
“Teesside remains an important centre for the process industry. We are keen to capitalise on the area’s commercial attractiveness, technical skills and research and development expertise.
“Our plant will not only provide a boost for the economy of North East England, but will also support the UK’s goal to become a world leader in the emerging industrial biotechnology sector by generating game changing technology in gas fermentation and synergistic applications.”
FeedKind is manufactured using a natural process similar to the production of yeast-extract sandwich spreads.
Studies have confirmed the nutritional value of the feed, based on criteria such as growth performance and animal health.
Calysta is marketing FeedKind Aqua to the global salmon farming industry. For the first time, FeedKind Aqua provides the aquaculture industry with the opportunity to further improve its sustainability profile as it grows to meet increasing global demand for fish protein. In the UK alone, the salmon farming industry is expected to grow by 50% by 2020.
By replacing fishmeal with a nutritious naturally occurring protein, the industry can reduce its impact on the environment and on wild fisheries, while offering consumers a more sustainable product.