Hamburg-based MicroHarvest opens pilot plant in Lisbon

Hamburg-based MicroHarvest opens pilot plant in Lisbon

With the commissioning of the first pilot plant for the production of sustainable proteins, the Hamburg-based biotechnology company has taken a further step towards commercialization.

Pilotanlage MicroHarvest
The pilot plant in Lisbon enables prototypes to be manufactured and production runs to be tested.

Microorganisms are important protein factories that can replace animal protein and thus contribute to a sustainable diet. The food tech start-up MicroHarvest uses these microbial helpers to produce new, healthy and sustainable protein ingredients. Two years after the Hamburg-based biotech company was founded, the first pilot plant was opened in Lisbon on November 16.

First product soon on the market

For the biotech company founded in 2021, the launch of the pilot plant is an important step towards commercialization and market launch. "Within just six months, we have doubled our team and successfully completed the pilot plant. This success, combined with the opening of our new office in Lisbon, underlines our remarkable growth momentum. We are optimistic that we will successfully launch our first product on the market within the next three months," said Managing Director Katelijne Bekers.

Optimization of biomass fermentation technology

MicroHarvest intends to produce customized protein samples for its customers at the facility in Portugal. To this end, the company's proprietary technology is to be further optimized and the production processes extensively tested. The company relies on biomass fermentation for protein production. This involves the use of specially selected strains of microorganisms that are fed with agricultural residues. The microbial production factories are bacteria that have already proven themselves in the production of foods such as yoghurt and kimchi. According to the company, high-quality proteins for food, animal feed and foodstuffs can be produced much faster and with fewer resources than with conventional processes.

The pilot plant at the Lisbon factory site will initially produce the first samples of the new fermented proteins. According to the company, it has already succeeded in producing almost one ton of protein per day this year. "The speed at which we have achieved this shows that we have the right team and the right technology to make sustainable protein available on a large scale. This is critical as the environmental footprint of our food systems must be minimized to stay within planetary boundaries," says co-CEO Jonathan Roberz.