Scotland’s 3F BIO is part of the consortium awarded funding today to deliver a European biorefinery project that will offer sustainable solutions to feed a growing population.

The first-of-its-kind zero-waste biorefinery is the type of large-scale innovation that offers solutions to one of the biggest challenges facing humanity: how do we feed more people with less resources, in a climate of rising global hunger levels?

Ghent will be home to the new PLENITUDE project, backed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, ‘producing proteins for food from low-cost sustainable feedstocks’. The ‘plant is to be co-funded by 3F BIO and the European Commission under the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), who are investing €17m’, 3FBIO revealed in a press statement today.

“3F BIO are delighted that the consortium has been awarded this grant. The problem of feeding a rapidly growing population and the continued demand for protein presents a high-level strategic issue. This project addresses this challenge by combining the benefits of biotechnology and the use of natural processes to support the efficient manufacturing of sustainable protein,” said Jim Laird, CEO 3F BIO.

With the European Parliament stating ‘the EU is currently suffering from a major deficit in protein production and is dependent on imports from third countries’ the new biorefinery will be a key element in reversing this trend. And if the goal of producing 1 million tonnes of protein by 2030 is met, it is estimated it will result in a corresponding ‘reduction of >5 million tonnes of carbon emissions’.

The consortium represents ‘every link’ in the value chain: expertise in primary processing and industrial operations (Alcogroup SA), biotechnology (3F BIO Limited), product development and applications (International Flavors & Fragrances I.F.F. B.V), primary research and protein expertise (Wageningen University) a specialist consultants covering marketing and sustainability (Bridge 2 Food, Life Cycle Engineering Srl), and three end-users covering food categories (Mosa Meat, Vivera, ABP) as well as one end-user covering bio-plastics (Lactips).