Saudi Arabia takes a step towards a future in sustainable proteins


August 12, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Aquaculture News,News-Global



Unibio signs MOU with SAGIA, the General Investment Authority of Saudi Arabia, initiating a project to produce proteins from methane gas.

Unibio and its local partner Edhafat have on 1 August signed an MOU with SAGIA beginning the preparations for the establishment of a protein production plant in Saudi Arabia.

Under the Saudi Arabian 2030 Vision the plan is to transform the economy using local investment power to create a more diverse and sustainable future, while also using the strategic position of the Kingdom to build a role as an integral driver of international trade bringing Africa, Asia, and Europe together.

In a region that may be affected by changing weather and without much fertile agricultural land as well as limited water resources, bringing in technology to address future food security challenges is key. By using local resources such as natural gas, cheap electricity, and chemicals, proteins can be produced without adding stress to the agricultural system or fish stock. The Unibio technology allows the decoupling of protein production from farming and fishing and this, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s ambition to increase aquaculture and milk production, makes the location and the Unibio technology a very good match.

Most people envision Saudi Arabia as a country of oil and gas with limited agricultural output, but what may still be fairly unknown to most people is the 2030 Vision of the country to transform the economy for the future,” said Unibio Group CEO Henrik Busch-Larsen. “We are very pleased to sign an MOU with an important governmental organization such as SAGIA as well as partnering up with Edhafat and other local stakeholders in our effort to participate in the development on the Saudi Arabian economy, bringing investments, jobs and a profitable business opportunity to the Kingdom” ends Henrik Busch-Larsen.

His Excellence Ibrahim Al Omar, Governor of SAGIA said:” With a growing population, this project represents an important step towards achieving food security for the Kingdom by providing a sustainable and economically viable source of animal feed products. The importance of this project is that it uses a clean and abundant natural source in the Kingdom, and produces high-quality protein supplements to feed fish, poultry, and livestock, in addition to the transfer of advanced technology to the Kingdom

Ture Vahan Munksgaard, the Head of Trade from the Royal Danish Embassy in Riyadh participated in the ceremony. Mr. Munksgaard said: “Many Danish companies are very innovative and are always questioning the ordinary. This leads to new and different ways of solving problems. Unibio is exactly that; A Danish company that develops proteins from a different source. It is great to see that through a collaboration between the private and government sector, there will be new jobs created, and the project will help to achieve some of the targets of Vision 2030.”

The Uniprotein® produced will be used as protein ingredient for the local production of animal and fish feed but will initially also be for exports.

Unibio is a leading Danish industrial biotech company with core competencies within microbial fermentation technologies. In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark, Unibio has developed an innovative technology – the vertical U-Loop® fermentation technology – allowing the introduction of new sustainable protein production methods. Unibio’s unique fermentation technology is based on converting natural gas (methane) into a highly concentrated protein product, Uniprotein®, by microbial fermentation.

The novel protein source Uniprotein® disrupts the traditional feed value chain and mitigates the traditional challenges by decoupling protein production from the fluctuating agricultural sector and stressed fishing industries. Cropland can thus be used to produce food for humans instead of feed for animals.

Unibio won the 2015 Danish Ernst Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Life Sciences and is a 2019 UNDP SDG Accelerator company.