Ten partners from industry and research launch a project (known as ‘PLENITUDE’) to build a first-of-its-kind, large-scale, integrated biorefinery facility to produce proteins for food from low-cost sustainable feedstocks.
This project has received €17m funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 838104, and is the largest flagship grant awarded to a UK company by BBI JU. PLENITUDE brings together 10 key players in the bioeconomy spanning 5 EU member states and representing every link in the value chain. This includes expertise in primary processing and industrial operations (Alcogroup SA), biotechnology (3F BIO Limited), product development and applications (International Flavors & Fragrances I.F.F. B.V), primary research and protein expertise (Wageningen University) a specialist consultants covering marketing and sustainability (Bridge2Food, Life Cycle Engineering Srl), and three end-users covering food categories (Mosa Meat, Vivera, ABP) as well as one end-user covering bio-plastics (Lactips).
The project addresses the protein challenge by integrating two established processes into a flagship, large-scale, first-of-its-kind, biorefinery producing bioethanol and sustainable food protein. The process takes a proportion of the sustainable cereal crops that feed the biorefinery to create a feedstock for the fermentation process that produces ABUNDA® mycoprotein.  
Olivier Van Rompaey, Senior Vice President AlcoGroup, highlighted: ‘With our core business in sustainable biorefineries, the Plenitude project offers a great opportunity to develop sustainable protein alongside a range of leading partners’.
Commenting on the announcement, Dean Holroyd, Group Technical and Sustainability Director, ABP, said: “As a business that produces a variety of products for millions of consumers around the world we are fully committed to ensure that we continuously innovate our product range to include as many tastes and diet choices as possible. Today’s announcement is the latest development on our R&D journey which also extends to improving the sustainability of our beef and lamb products and the introduction and combination of meat free and plant-based products.” “We operate the highest standards in sustainability across our business and we are keen to be actively involved in addressing the challenges of feeding a rapidly growing population and sustainably as possible.”
With initial output capacity of 16k tonnes per annum, this flagship project will increase the availability of sustainable, high-quality food protein. The collaboration between the biorefinery operator, food producers and technology providers will create new cross-sector interconnections, new bio-based value chains, and new bio-based ‘consumer’ products. mycoprotein is an established high-quality protein ingredient.
 ABUNDA® Mycoprotein is a registered trademark of 3F BIO Ltd for mycoprotein made using our proprietary zero waste process.
About the Joint Undertaking on Bio-based Industries (BBI)
The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking is a new €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. Operating under Horizon 2020, it is driven by the Vision and Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) developed by the industry, aimed at increasing investment in the development of a sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe. It aims at providing environmental and socio-economic benefits for European citizens, increasing the competitiveness of Europe and contributing to establishing Europe as a key player in research, demonstration and deployment of advanced bio-based products and biofuels. The BBI Joint Undertaking will also play an important role in achieving a bioeconomy in Europe. The objectives of the BBI Joint Undertaking are to contribute to a more resource efficient and sustainable low-carbon economy and to increasing economic growth and employment, in particular in rural areas, by developing sustainable and competitive bio-based industries in Europe, based on advanced biorefineries that source their biomass sustainably.
About 3F BIO
3F BIO is a biotechnology company that addresses the global need for sustainable high-quality protein & fibre food. 3F BIO uses the benefits of a patented zero waste process to produce ABUNDA® mycoprotein using the natural process of fermentation.
This article was originally published on the Protein Report Website on April 2020.