Recently, we shared a story about how feeding cattle seaweed could significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock farming. Now, we would like to introduce to you Deep Branch, a UK-based startup that aims to cut the environmental footprint of agriculture by creating animal feed made out of CO2.
The company has recently managed to secure €8 million ($9.5m) in funding, which will help it advance its mission to turn carbon dioxide into protein to be used for animal feed. Their effort aims to not only capture some carbon that would otherwise go into our atmosphere but also to provide a sustainable alternative to soy-based feedstock often linked to deforestation.
As The Guardian explains, Deep Branch’s method involves feeding carbon and hydrogen to a microorganism in a fermentation process similar to what you would see in a brewery. However, instead of beer, the output is a high-value protein that can be dried and converted into animal feed.
Finding sustainable alternatives to natural sources of protein — such as soy which is linked to deforestation in the Amazon and fishmeal which requires eye-watering amounts of wild-caught fish to produce — is key to minimizing the huge environmental impact of livestock diets.
The protein created by Deep Branch holds great potential to provide such an alternative as it relies on recycling CO2 from industrial emitters, without requiring land and other natural resources to produce it.
“There are big sustainability drawbacks from the proteins we currently use to produce animal products like salmon fillets and chicken drumsticks, but we can produce a high-quality protein without requiring any arable land or fish,” said Deep Branch co-founder, Peter Rowe.