Blog_5 ways Proton Sustainability (1)

5 ways Proton contributes to a more sustainable feed industry

The world has two significant challenges to overcome that are intrinsically linked. Firstly, animal feed demand is set to double by 2050 to supply the growing population. At the same time, protein for animal diets is too resource-intensive to meet growing demand. 

However, there is an answer to this problem. We’ve developed our single-cell protein, Proton™, specifically for the animal feed industry. Here are five ways it is enabling a more sustainable feed industry.


1. The core technology used to produce Proton utilises clean recycled carbon dioxide, reducing the reliance on arable land for protein production. 

We create protein using a process called gas fermentation, where natural microbes are cultivated using clean carbon dioxide and hydrogen. We have proven the technology, using carbon dioxide from the bioenergy plant of Drax Power Group, the UK’s biggest renewable energy provider. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a world-leading carbon capture technology developer, has demonstrated its ability to purify carbon dioxide produced by Drax, which we have then fed into our process, showing we can produce clean protein with no need for arable land.

2. Proton is produced locally driving down transportation needs and costs.

Whereas most of the world’s protein used in animal feed is produced in South America and shipped elsewhere, Proton can be produced anywhere with renewable energy and carbon dioxide. By producing Proton in Europe for the continent’s salmon feed industry, the protein-rich ingredient significantly drives down the costs and carbon emissions associated with transportation. By reducing and optimising the freight distances of the animal feed supply chain, we estimate that the annual production of 100,000 tonnes of Proton would save the equivalent of 60,000 barrels of oil by avoiding transcontinental shipping. 

3. Proton prevents deforestation 

Contrary to plant-based protein sources, the gas fermentation process on which our core technology is based doesn’t require arable land, favourable weather conditions or sunlight. The microbes used to produce Proton are cultivated in fermentation vessels that only require renewable energy and carbon dioxide. With increasing demand to grow crops for food, animal feed and biofuel, deforestation to make way for arable land is causing dramatic  biodiversity loss.  We calculate that producing 100,000 tonnes of Proton  will prevent the requirement for a soy plantation three times the size of Paris.


4. Steering the animal industry away from needing arable land reduces biodiversity loss caused by deforestation and overfishing.

The current model for producing protein for animal feed comes at another environmental cost. Deforestation has been linked to biodiversity loss due to the destruction of natural habitats for hundreds, sometimes thousands of species. Similarly, most of the elements in fish feed come from the traditional fishing of wild species to feed farmed fish, leading to biodiversity loss in our oceans. Switching from conventional protein sources reliant on arable land or fishmeal (produced from wild fish) to Proton gives us a chance to preserve and restore natural habitats and biodiversity.


5. Proton requires minimal amounts of water.

Agricultural practices associated with the production of plant-based proteins for animal feed require enormous amounts of water. As animal feed is set to double by 2050, protein sources that rely on arable land will add to the already pressing issue of water scarcity, which is becoming more acute in a growing number of regions worldwide due to rising temperatures and high levels of water consumption. Because Proton is produced in a controlled environment, we’re able to be extremely water efficient.

The sustainability of animal farming and the reduction of emissions are two of the biggest problems of our time. At Deep Branch, we’re tackling these problems through the development of Proton™. Rather than relying on conventional protein sources like fishmeal and soy, with Proton feed producers can effectively lower their carbon footprint across the entire value chain and produce animal feed in a sustainable manner.

Learn more about the technology behind Proton here  

Deep Branch and BioMar agree strategic partnership to enhance the aquaculture industry

Deep Branch and BioMar agree strategic partnership to enhance the aquaculture industry

  • Deep Branch and BioMar have signed a long-term agreement to redefine conventional aquaculture feed ingredients and improve the aquaculture industry. 
  • The partnership’s initial focus will be to optimise salmon feed using Proton™, a single cell protein developed by Deep Branch.
  • Deep Branch and BioMar will conduct a wide range of nutritional assessments to test the performance and digestibility of the protein-rich ingredient for fish health and growth. 


NOTTINGHAM, UK Deep Branch and BioMar have signed a long-term technical and commercial partnership to redefine traditional aquaculture feed ingredients and improve the aquaculture industry’s efficiency, profitability and sustainability. The immediate focus of the cooperation will be to optimise salmon feed using Proton™, a single cell protein developed by Deep Branch for the feed industry, as a primary protein source. 

Deep Branch uses clean and renewable carbon and energy sources to create ingredients for a more sustainable food system. The company has established strong partnerships across the value chain as it deploys its proprietary technology with a clear scale-up roadmap. By collaborating with local providers of strategic raw materials, Deep Branch ensures demand for food and feed can be met sustainably, without customers compromising on nutrition or quality.

BioMar is a leading supplier of aquaculture feed driving the uptake of sustainable feeds through its Blue Impact diets. The company encourages and stimulates regenerative practices in its supply chain and has set targets for the minimum inclusion of circular and restorative ingredients in its products. Furthermore, BioMar is aiming to decouple feed supply chains from environmental degradation and directly competing with food for human consumption.

To kick off the partnership, Deep Branch will transport Proton™ from its facility in the Netherlands to BioMar’s Technology Centre in Denmark to produce Proton™-based feed until the end of 2022. The companies will conduct a full suite of nutritional assessments in Denmark, Norway and the UK to test the protein-rich ingredient. These tests will focus on performance, digestibility and other parameters essential for fish health and growth. 

Commenting on the partnership, Deep Branch’s CEO Pete Rowe said:

“The world needs to move from making pledges to taking action, and we are passionate about industrial ecology underpinning the next generation of food production. We see BioMar as a key partner in bringing Proton™ to market as its ambitious targets and commitment to collaboration fully align with ours.” 

“Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We have a unique opportunity to create new value chains and ensure this is a net positive for all stakeholders. Our partnership with BioMar will create a powerful message for potential upstream partners that supplying hydrogen and carbon dioxide to our facilities can directly decarbonise our food systems.” 

Paddy Campbell, VP Salmon at BioMar Group, added:

 “At BioMar, we’re constantly seeking innovative raw materials that don’t compete with human food production and using nutrients from by-products that minimise waste. So we’re excited to have established this strategic partnership with Deep Branch.”

“Deep Branch is a company that shares our vision and passion for a sustainable food and aquaculture system. Driving a breakthrough innovation such as Proton™ requires collaboration across the value chain, and we look forward to working together to make Proton™ a commercial reality in our aquafeeds.”

Both Deep Branch and BioMar are part of the end-to-end, value chain-wide REACT-FIRST consortium, supported by grant funding from Innovate UK. The REACT-FIRST programme is designed to obtain critical data on the cost, digestibility, nutritional quality and carbon footprint of Proton™ and is the first step towards the ingredient’s commercial development.


Notes for editors

Link to images:

Media enquiries:

Lee Lodge, Head of PR, Life Size Media
Tel. +44 07812076914

About Deep Branch: 

Deep Branch creates sustainable, high-value food and feed ingredients to support a more sustainable food system. The company’s proprietary technology uses CO2 and hydrogen as clean and renewable carbon and energy sources to deliver next-generation bio-based products.

Founded in 2018, Deep Branch has approximately 30 staff based in the UK and the Netherlands. It works with feed producers in industries such as aquaculture and partners with upstream companies such as CO2 suppliers to deploy its technology efficiently and safely. Deep Branch has already established relationships with major international stakeholders, including Drax, BioMar and Sainsbury’s.

For more information, visit:

About BioMar Group:

BioMar are innovators in high performance aquaculture feed dedicated to doing our part in creating a healthy and sustainable global aquaculture industry. BioMar operates 17 feed factories across the globe in Norway, Chile, Denmark, Scotland, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Australia. Worldwide, we supply feed to around 90 countries and for more than 45 different species. BioMar is wholly owned by the Danish industrial group Schouw & Co, which is listed on the NASDAQ, Copenhagen.

Learn more about BioMar:



Deep Branch included in PwC Net Zero Future50

As climate change challenges grow ever more urgent, climate tech innovations are helping reduce emissions and accelerate decarbonisation. PwC has analysed the UK’s rapidly growing climate tech sector and identified 50 innovative start-ups with the potential to make a significant difference in the battle against climate change.

With policy-backed pledges from COP26 still leaving us confronting up to 2.4 degrees of warming, climate tech is emerging as a critical tool to accelerate decarbonisation worldwide. The UK government has made binding and internationally leading commitments to decarbonise the economy by 78% against 1990 baseline levels, by 2035, and breakthrough technologies are now emerging at speed and scale across sectors that are critical to meeting emissions reductions targets.

“It’s great to see the PwC UK team raising the profile of Net Zero and climate tech solutions, and the many startups like Deep Branch that are behind many of those innovative solutions,” says Pete Rowe, Deep Branch CEO. “We’re excited to be included and have big plans for scaling our CO2-to-X platform—offering the first scalable route to a truly sustainable protein generation process from a waste product.”

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eic scaling up

Deep Branch in the TOP50 EIC ScalingUp List

Deep Branch made it onto the list of the 50 most promising European Deep Tech start-ups as part of the EIC ScalingUp programme. A Selection Committee of experienced investors chose to include Deep Branch from more than 3,000 candidates in a selection process covering several stages. These companies are considered the most promising EIC (European Innovation Council) tech companies that have the potential to achieve substantial growth, and to become world-scale companies or to realise a big exit or IPO.

“Through the EIC ScalingUp project the EIC supports high-growth, high potential companies with visionary ideas, disruptive technologies, and the ambition to grow exponentially in Europe and globally.”– Jean-David Malo, Director, European Innovation Council (EIC) and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).

We’re honoured to be part of this select group!

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react first

COP26: Collaborative Innovation [VIDEO]

COP26 is now off to a start in Glasgow. For the next two weeks, world leaders meet to discuss a warming world and aim to bring parties together to accelerate action.

With its theme Together for Our Planet in mind, we’ve put together a series highlighting REACT-FIRST: an end-to-end value-chain-wide consortium of industry and academic partners and the UK’s scalable route to transforming CO2 into animal feed.

With REACT-FIRST we’ve come together to turn dire warnings into substantive solutions and transform the UK’s food production system. In the next weeks, we’ll be highlighting current developments and future opportunities in the areas of Collaborative Innovation, CCUS, Alternative Protein, Carbon Footprint, Traceability, Sustainable Animal Feed, and Responsible Innovation.

To lead us off on the topic of Collaborative Innovation, we spoke to experts Katrina Hayter, Industrial Strategy Challenge Director – Transforming Food Production at UK Research and Innovation’s Innovate UK, and Heather Jones, CEO at Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre.


Deep Branch Joins Unreasonable World Forum 2021

Join Deep Branch as we gather with 23 other pioneering companies and remarkable thought-leaders to showcase the best of global innovation at the first virtual  Unreasonable Impact World Forum! Tune in to learn how you can help us reimagine and rebuild an inclusive and prosperous green economy, here.

As an Unreasonable Company, Deep Branch has been a part of the 300 ventures in the Unreasonable Fellowship operating across more than 180 countries. These companies have collectively generated $5.4 bn in revenue, raised $6.9 bn in financing, and are positively impacting the lives of more than 720 m people.

The Unreasonable Group is an international company that supports a Fellowship for growth-stage entrepreneurs, channels exclusive deal-flow to investors, and partners with institutions to discover profit in solving global problems. They handpick and privately invite the world’s most impactful growth-stage companies into the Unreasonable Fellowship. They then give select investors, mentors, and partners the opportunity to create value in helping scale the efforts of these history-defining ventures.

Take a look >

The Roads to Carbon Neutral With TotalEnergies

Delivering carbon neutrality will require more than just reducing our current and future emissions. Though renewables will undoubtedly play a crucial role, succeeding in this endeavour will require us to transform our ability to remove harmful greenhouse gases from our atmosphere, through a revolutionary approach to carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). In order to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, as much as 5 billion metric tons of CO2 will need to be captured by 2050.

Strong relationships with key stakeholders are key for success on the road to net-zero emissions. We’re happy to be backed by TotalEnergies Carbon Neutrality Ventures as they’re busy developing the technologies and solutions required to meet this challenging target, putting CCUS at the heart of its efforts to tackle climate change.

Tune in to hear Deep Branch’s Associate Scientific Director Craig Woods talk about our mighty microbes as one of the innovative ways we can tackle the world’s biggest challenges.


Polly Douglas

REACT-FIRST: Turning Carbon Dioxide into Sustainable Ingredients [video]

Take a closer look at our REACT-FIRST initiative, the UK’s first-ever scalable route to the sustainable generation of protein capturing the carbon dioxide from bio-energy generation. With funding from Innovate UK and Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, the project was launched with an end-to-end, value-chain-wide consortium of ten industry and academic partners, all sharing a commitment to tackling the global climate crisis and the goal of achieving neutral/negative carbon emissions.


planet bio

Deep Branch Moves to Planet

Deep Branch has joined the scale-up ecosystem on Biotech Campus Delft. Planet is a non-profit organisation that contributes to the transition of today’s fossil-based, linear economy to tomorrow’s bio-based, circular economy, by promoting Industrial Biotechnology. They do so by sharing the incredible amount of biotech knowledge and infrastructure available on the Biotech Campus Delft. To create a successful biotechnology ecosystem you need many high-potential companies together. These companies can grow faster together than alone by using the synergies created by collaboration and we’re excited to reap the benefits.

Deep Branch CEO Peter Rowe shares: “Planet has the potential to create a critical mass of impactful companies with a shared technological expertise. I strongly believe in ecosystem-level innovation to enable our company to thrive. Silos of knowledge can lock out opportunities and with collaborations, shared resources, and leveraging the unique opportunities Planet provides, we can grow our company in an accelerated but strategic way.”

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Polly Douglas joins KTN Advisory

We’re pleased to share that our very own Polly Douglas will be joining the KTN Animal Sector Advisory Board, covering livestock and aquaculture.

The team of KTN AgriFood experts has worked in both research and industry before joining and it’s essential they keep in touch with the sector regularly. Each group is made up of between 30 to 60 invited members, from research, industry, government and start-ups, across the UK. The groups meet three times a year to discuss themes around innovation. The meetings help KTN shape the events they organise and reports they write for the sector.

The Sector Advisory Boards also provide specialist knowledge and experience to help set future priorities and direct activities of the UK Government. They provide a coherent industry voice to inform KTN, Innovate UK, and others of the major technology and innovation needs and opportunities in their sector.

Polly has a deep background in aquaculture and plays a key role in driving collaboration at Deep Branch, so we can’t think of a better fit.

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