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Finnish biotech start-up Enifer has secured a €12 million grant from Business Finland to build a “first-of-its-kind" mycoprotein ingredient factory in the country’s Uusimaa region.


The funding, which came from the European Union’s ‘NextGenerationEU’ recovery instrument, will support Enifer in building the facility. The site will favour the reuse and recycling of industrial by-products and waste streams, aligning with the EU’s circular economy action plan and the ‘Sustainable Growth Programme’ for Finland.


The commercial-scale factory will produce Enifer’s Pekilo mycoprotein ingredients made using fungal fermentation. The Pekilo fermentation process was originally developed by Finnish forest industry engineers in the 1970s and became the “world’s first” commercial mycoprotein production process from 1975 to 1991, converting forest industry by-products into sustainable feed protein for the domestic market.


Enifer has taken the original process and developed a food-grade ingredient based on the original technology. The product is a protein- and fibre-rich powder with a neutral taste and colour that can be used in a similar way to plant-based proteins in the food industry today.


The new facility will have a production capacity of 3 million kg per year of sustainable, locally sourced protein. Enifer says this is roughly equivalent to the protein content of meat from 30,000 cows, but with at least 20 times lower carbon emissions and considerably lower water and land use.


The factory is currently projected to cost €30 million to build and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, with production ramp-up occurring in 2026. The company expects to file for regulatory approval of its food-grade ingredient during the first half of 2024.


Simo Ellilä, CEO and co-founder of Enifer, said: “This plant will be a critical stepping stone to scaling the production of Pekilo as a truly universal protein source – which we aim to commercialise globally across different applications. Thanks to the unique history of Pekilo, we are able to take this giant leap from our existing pilot directly to a commercial-scale facility. We are extremely grateful for the financial support approved by Business Finland and the European Union’s ‘NextGenerationEU’ programme, which will enable us to take this huge step in the coming year.”


Enifer raised €11 million in a series A funding round in spring last year, and the company has ongoing partnerships with global companies in the feed and food industries, such as Skretting, the global aquafeed division of Nutreco, Purina for pet food, and Valio for consumer food products.


#Enifer #Finland

Enifer secures €12m grant to build new mycoprotein ingredient factory

Phoebe Fraser

11 January 2024

Enifer secures €12m grant to build new mycoprotein ingredient factory

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