Krill protein pilot plant being built in Norway

GEA Australia

Friday, 30 July, 2021

Krill protein pilot plant being built in Norway

Aker BioMarine is a biotechnology company based in Norway that fishes for Antarctic krill — tiny shrimp-like crustaceans — and uses them to develop ingredients for functional foods, aquaculture and animal feed. GEA is now partnering with the company to develop a new pilot plant for hydrolysing krill protein, which will produce a highly concentrated protein isolate destined for food and beverages.

Following extensive research into protein powder, Aker BioMarine has developed a production process that converts protein flour into high-quality protein hydrolysate powder for human consumption. In commissioning the pilot plant, which will expand production from the current lab-based operation into a scalable, industrial process with a capacity of 120 tons per year, the company will develop and sell commercial products and work with partners to create new market opportunities.

GEA will engineer the pilot plant for krill protein with a view to sustainability. It has been tasked with designing all technical processes in the krill protein hydrolysis pilot plant as well as supplying and integrating the machinery and components. The plant will have a flexible design using the GEA CODEX based automation system, which lends itself to further product development and innovation.

“The functional food — or New Food — market is currently evolving very dynamically. Innovators such as Aker BioMarine are not only unlocking entirely new sources of human nutrition and health but also doing so without compromising the climate and environment. We are thrilled to join Aker BioMarine on their journey into researching and commercialising krill protein,” said Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, Senior Vice President Liquid Technologies at GEA. “Assisting in developing new food sources provides us with an exciting opportunity to showcase our own creativity in process technology.”

Slated to come online in late 2022, the pilot plant could serve as a benchmark for further protein hydrolysis equipment in the future.

Image credit: Aker BioMarine

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