Brevel launches commercial plant for microalgae protein supply

The new facility marks the global roll-out of Brevel’s microalgae protein for the plant-based food market

Brevel has opened its first commercial plant. The new facility covers 2,500 sq m and has the capacity to produce hundreds of tons of microalgae protein powder. Brevel’s microalgae protein is clean, non-GMO, planet-friendly, and serves as market viable solution for the plant-based protein space.

From the new facility, Brevel can provide a fresh source of protein extracted from the microalgae belonging to the chlorella family. The resulting ingredient is possesses a full amino-acid profile and is cost-effective. It has a neutral flavour and colour, and leaves a negligible environmental footprint. The company expects the new facility to start rolling its first products by the first quarter of 2025.

Fermentation sees the light

Brevel cultivates its microalgae in indoor bioreactors via the fermentation of sugars. Central to its technology is the simultaneous application of light and fermentation. This enables the generation of nutritious microalgae in high yields without any form of gene modification.

“Combining light and fermentation to produce microalgae is like putting an electric motor into a Tesla car,” explained Yonatan Golan, Brevel’s co-founder and CEO. “It may sound like a very simple straightforward task to achieve but is actually extremely complex. This was the challenge we managed to crack and lies at the core of our technology. Until now, fermentation has been confined to dark environments and is instrumental in producing the extremely high yields. However, microalgae’s natural makeup of nutrients — including protein, lipids, fiber, and pigments — depend on photosynthesis for their development and growth.”

The future is here

By bringing together fermentation and light into a single process, Brevel can produce a steady supply of white-powdered, 60-70% microalgae protein concentrate. Its functional qualities can be applied in meat and dairy alternatives. Brevel will focus first on alternative dairy products.

“Our versatile solutions can boost protein content in dairy alternative while mimicking the same sensory experience,” added Golan. “We have strategised several joint-venture partnerships in the US, Europe, and Asia. The result will be construction of larger facilities to fulfill growing demands for our sustainable protein in multiple applications.”

As part of its waste-free manufacturing process, Brevel valorises all of the algae’s valuable components, making the oil and fibre byproducts available as clean-label emulsifiers and a source of food enrichment for functional foods and food supplements.

At an inauguration event, which welcomed more than 150 attendees including investors, food-tech start-ups, government representatives and food manufacturers, Brevel gave tours of the new facility which houses bioproduction labs, working environments, a modern food application lab, and quality control equipment.

The visitors enjoyed tastings of a variety of plant-based cheese analogous demonstrating Brevel’s ability to provide nutritional value without compromising flavour or appearance.

“This new facility is just the beginning for Brevel,” stated Ido Golan, CTO and co-founder of Brevel. “We will make a vital contribution to building a secure, resilient food value chain that will nourish future generations with a new supply line of affordable yet highly nutritious protein.”

Brevel will supply its protein to plant-based food formulators and food manufacturers worldwide, some of whom are strategic partners and investors in the company. Today’s product developers are actively seeking more neutral-tasting plant proteins as options to commonly used pea and soy proteins, which often pose flavor and texture challenges. The extracted microalgae protein is highly nutritious, has sensory appeal, and shares the same price bracket as soy and pea proteins.

Last year the company netted nearly US$19m in seed funding. The round, led by NevaTeam Partners and supported by the European Union’s EIC Fund, enabled this current phase of commercial-scale production and global outreach.