Landfill gas for dinner: Is methane-made protein the future of food?

Problem: Landfills and sewage plants produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change. At the same time, the world’s demand for food, especially those high in protein, is soaring.

  • Two companies – Calysta Inc. (CA, USA) and String Bio (India) have independently discovered processes for converting landfill biogas to protein.
  • Methanotrophic soil bacteria ferments the methane to protein in a water-based solution, which can be dried into an edible powder.
  • The protein is currently added to animal feed, whilst human consumption trials are planned pending further purification.
  • The product can be used as a fish-meal replacement, which is currently sourced from wild commercially-caught fish, the populations of which are under immense pressure from over-fishing.
  • StringBio aims to commercialize these systems to a domestic level for community waste-to-protein initiatives.

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Bloomberg Technology: Landfill Gas for Dinner? Scientists to Cook Food From Waste (September 26, 2017)

Stakeholders interested in this technology:

  • Landfill / biogas plants / any other methane producing industrial processes
    • Plant operators
    • Waste management
  • Animal feed agribusinesses and high-protein food retailers
    • Investment team
    • Procurement and supply chain

Steps for deployment:

  1. Measure methane levels at production facility for feasibility
  2. Install methane-capture technology
  3. Send to relevant conversion company (ie. Calysta Inc.) for processing

 

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2 thoughts on “Landfill gas for dinner: Is methane-made protein the future of food?

  1. Another point from the article – Fishmeal, which is used as a common source of protein for shrimp and livestock dramatically increased in price in the last two decades. Producing protein from methane emissions can help lower the cost of feeding shrimp and livestock.

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  2. The price of methane-made protein is cheaper than fish-meal with 700 dollars / ton, and the expiration date is one year which is longer than fish-meal. Even if the price of natural gas, from which methane could be extracted, rises to 10 dollars/mm BTU, it will be cheaper than fish- meal. It is reasonable to develop business in the US with about 3 dollars/mm BTU of natural gas price recently.

    UNI:mt3170
    Fall17-wk2

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