Over 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide are emitted each year, impacting climate change and altering global temperatures and weather patterns. NovoNutrients is transforming carbon dioxide emissions into alternative protein ingredients. It’s a rags-to-riches story for the eco-friendly age: unsustainable carbon emissions transformed into versatile, complex nourishment for the beings it once threatened. The proof is in the well-fed zebrafish floating around a vat in the NovoNutrients’ lab.
NovoNutrients’ flagship product is a protein flour composed of bacteria that were fed a diet principally consisting of carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The production process takes advantage of gas fermentation, a technique heralded as a game-changer for decarbonization, as it holds the power to convert industrial waste emissions into valuable products.
When it came time to start scaling-up production, NovoNutrients turned to Black & Veatch for its engineering and design expertise to collaborate on their first pilot plant. With more than 30 years’ experience as a market leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies, as well as ingredient manufacturing expertise, Black & Veatch was an ideal partner to turn NovoNutrients’ lab-tested concept into large-scale reality.
Black & Veatch collaborated with NovoNutrients to understand their goals and specifically the need for captured emissions and clean or green hydrogen. Black & Veatch consulted with the NovoNutrients team to design the large-scale equipment and pilot facility needed to grow the bacteria that make up NovoNutrients’ food system input products. Then, they built in the upstream and downstream production processes, enabling the transformation of flue gas to consumer products.
Flue gas emissions from a neighboring manufacturing facility would be captured, processed, and fed to bacteria that become the protein base for NovoNutrients’ protein flour. If the added hydrogen is made from renewable-energy-powered electrolyzers, the entire production process has the potential to be carbon-negative.
This is not the first time the sustainability-focused companies have collaborated. Black & Veatch first worked with NovoNutrients in 2019, when the startup joined the inaugural cohort of the IgniteX Growth Accelerator. Through that program, NovoNutrients gained access to opportunities for mentorship, access to Black & Veatch’s vast network, product testing, pitch development, investor introductions and funding. The project to design and construct NovoNutrients’ pilot plant is the second collaborative effort between the two companies.