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GEA has begun the construction of its new technology centre for alternative proteins in Janesville, Wisconsin, US.


The centre, slated to open in 2025, is set to scale-up the production of novel cell-based, plant-based and microbial foods, helping GEA to support manufacturers in meeting the demand for complementary proteins and ingredients that could replace traditional animal-based products.


Arpad Csay, lead of GEA’s new food activities in North America, said: “This investment underscores our commitment to innovation and sustainability in the food industry. The technology centre will offer food-tech businesses a platform to develop and de-risk their processes to ensure technological and commercial viability. It helps start-ups in the sector implement a business strategy that requires little upfront investment. This way, we help accelerate the development of market-ready products.”


The centre will house pilot lines for cell cultivation and precision fermentation, bridging the gap between benchtop and commercial production of alt-proteins.


The 1,200-square-metre site will use energy obtained from renewable sources. Heat pumps and systems powered by electricity will replace the natural gas conventionally used for building technology and process equipment. The site will use a ground-mounted photovoltaic system to generate 290 MWh of electricity per year, exceeding the expected energy required by at least 25% – surplus energy will be fed into the grid. The photovoltaic system is expandable, which means that green energy can continue to be generated when process demands increase in the future.


Csay continued: “Novel food production methods are going to gain prominence in the coming decades. This development will require a diverse pool of skilled professionals from operators in the plants to bioprocessing engineers designing production systems and scientists pushing boundaries through research and development. Our technology centre will help develop this future workforce by educating students and young professionals about the underlying biology and bioprocesses. We are excited to work with community colleges and universities to build these competencies in the region.”


The new plant will complement GEA’s existing production facility in Janesville and is expected to strengthen the grassroots economy in Midwestern US, as well as enhance the region’s attractiveness for collaborative research projects and other services.


 

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GEA starts construction of alt-protein technology centre in US

Phoebe Fraser

15 May 2024

GEA starts construction of alt-protein technology centre in US

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