NextGenProteins will optimise and validate, in an industrially relevant environment, the production of proteins from microalgae, single cells and insects and demonstrate their suitability as alternative sustainable sources in food and feed value chains.
NextGenProtein’s concept is simple but highly ambitious: to optimise and validate the production of three alternative proteins through resource efficient bioconversion processes and demonstrate their suitability in an industrially relevant environment as addition to, or substitute of, traditional protein sources. The project will serve as a platform for industrial partners/entrepreneurs to take their innovations to the next level by turning them into relevant, credible products and thus, accelerate market-driven, customer- and consumer-responsive innovative EU alternative protein production. This will contribute to EU’s food security and its goal of future proofing food and feed supply chains in a world faced with climate change, resource scarcity, increasing waste and aging population.
Microalgae will be grown on carbon dioxide (CO2) emission from a geothermal power plant in an efficient, indoor production process, transforming waste into microalgal
Black solider flies and crickets will be grown on underutilised plant-food biomass, transforming waste into insect protein meal.
The methodology of NextGenProteins will focus on bioconversion of underutilized resources with the intention of expanding the sustainable European protein selection available for food and feed. Underutilized resources, e.g. plantbased biomass, often contain low or no amounts of protein; still they can be transformed through organism-based conversion processes that break them down, utilize their energy and convert into high quality proteins. NextGenProteins has identified three processes, each of which will use an industrial waste stream to yield three different alternative protein products: microalgae protein meal, insect protein meal and single cell protein (SCP) meal from microbes. These three protein production processes were carefully selected from previous or ongoing European projects, based on their suitability for the topic Alternative proteins for food and feed, and their complementarity with EU initiatives.
Assess and map EU food and feed regulatory and safety landscape, identify main barriers for the production and application of the three alternative proteins and contribute to EU policy and regulatory framework.
Deliver three high-quality, safe, nutritious and sustainable protein sources through bioconversion processes, utilising existing industrial waste streams currently discarded or disposed as landfill.
Demonstrate food application potentials of the three alternative proteins through concept and practical trials, in collaboration between the multi-disciplinary research and innovation partners, the protein suppliers, and the small, medium and large food producing partners.
Demonstrate animal feed (poultry and fish) application potentials of the three alternative proteins through research and practical trials in collaboration between the multi-disciplinary research and innovation partners, protein suppliers, feed producers, animal production and retail partners.
Explore and facilitate market opportunities for the three alternative proteins and derived products, in co-creation with consumer and stakeholder focus-groups, and promote high consumer trust and acceptability.
Analyse and verify sustainability advantages of the three alternative protein production processes in terms of environmental and economic impacts, enabling improvements of important indicators, such as production efficiency, GHG emissions, value chain risks, land-, water-, and energy use.
Develop and apply an innovative Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework, that brings together researchers, policy makers, businesses and other societal actors to facilitate consumer acceptance, effectively disseminate project results and ensure their exploitation.