Finland-based Enifer, which makes use of leftover supplies that might go to waste from the meals and pulp business to create its novel PEKILO® mycoprotein product, has raised a complete of €36m in new funding. The spherical features a €15m Collection B spherical led by Taaleri Bioindustry, a €7m mortgage from the Finnish Local weather Fund, a €2m mortgage from Finnvera and a €12m grant from Enterprise Finland. 

The funding might be used to scale up its operations and transfer right into a food-grade mycoprotein manufacturing unit within the Finnish village of Kantvik. The corporate says that it’ll be the world’s first industrial plant to provide a mycoprotein ingredient from facet stream uncooked supplies as soon as accomplished in 2025. 

Reviving historical past

Making mycoprotein — which is a kind of protein that comes from fungus — normally entails feeding a sugar combination to a fungus which then grows right into a mass that can be utilized as the bottom for meals merchandise. Manufacturers like Quorn, for instance, use it to make vegetarian meat options. 

Enifer’s course of makes use of waste from the paper and meals business slightly than sugar, upcycles the leftover supplies and makes its novel mycoprotein. It’s hoping to provide meals producers with a food-grade mycoprotein to make use of in vegan merchandise.

The corporate plans to file for novel meals approval in Europe and presumably Singapore this 12 months, which might enable it to promote its product for human consumption. A call is predicted by 2026. 

Whereas it waits for that second, it’s specializing in animal feed, together with for fish farms within the aquaculture business. 

What the mycoprotein is used for is determined by the business it takes feed materials from: “Relying on the facet stream, we might make a meals grade protein — for example, we’re working with the dairy business or the starch business, [and] their byproducts might be transformed into meals grade product — whereas from the pulp business or from biofuels, we’d be taking a look at making protein for animal vitamin,” says CEO and cofounder Simo Ellilä. 

Making extra mycoprotein  

Many of the new funding is earmarked for the event of a much bigger manufacturing unit to provide the protein at a industrial stage, says Ellilä. It’s estimated it’ll value round €33m to get it up and operating. 

Whereas the corporate can at present make round 5kg of product a day, the upscaled facility will enable the creation of 500kg an hour. As soon as it will get getting into 2026, it plans to ramp as much as 3,000 tonnes of the mycoprotein a 12 months, which is sufficient to cowl the annual protein wants of round 40k folks. 

The geography of the brand new manufacturing unit was additionally chosen for practicality.  

“It is subsequent to the ocean, which is essential — not only for the view, however as a result of the fermentation [process] really wants a variety of cooling,” says Ellilä. The economic area that Enifer might be shifting into already makes use of seawater to chill the tools throughout the facility. 

And whereas getting this manufacturing unit operating is the corporate’s subsequent main milestone, Ellilä is already interested by future tasks. 

“It is actually about ramping and scaling up, as a result of we anticipate [this factory] to be the primary of many. Behind the curtains we’re engaged on a number of future factories, and plenty of of them can be constructed along with another person. Getting these off the bottom sooner slightly than later is a giant process on our arms.” 

Rooted in historical past

The mycoprotein that Enifer produces is first-of-a-kind, however the course of it makes use of is definitely rooted in Finnish historical past. 

Utilizing the facet streams of the pulp and paper business to make proteins was a course of developed within the Nineteen Sixties and 70s, says Ellilä, and was used for over 15 years to make mycoproteins for feedstock. 

However when the paper business modified the supplies it utilized in its manufacturing course of, the facet streams it produced — which have been used to feed the mycoprotein — additionally modified. Plus, the engineering agency supplying the knowhow went bust through the nation’s financial despair of the 90s, and so the method was phased out. 

“That’s the bizarre half: how actively it’s been forgotten,” says Ellilä. “We studied biotech in Finland, and we had by no means heard of it.”

Eniver is reviving the method due to a analysis director who recalled the historical past and sufficient concerning the course of to assist Ellilä and his cofounder determine the way it labored.

“We’re principally selecting up from the place these folks left off, modernising this distinctive course of and relaunching it to serve new markets,” says Ellilä.  

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