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Israeli company’s secret sauce to enable mass production of cultured seafood

Mermade CEO Daniel Einhorn reveals the algae that could make lab-grown seafood and meat a daily dish

Mermade Seafoods can achieve “up to 10,000-fold reduction in cost” in the production of lab-grown protein, CEO Daniel Einhorn told OurCrowd’s Amy Stoken

The secret ingredient in Mermade Seafoods’ secret sauce is out – and it has the potential to revolutionize the commercialization of environmentally friendly lab-grown seafood and meat.

Technologies for cultivating alternative proteins have been around for years, but they have been far too costly to bring a lab-grown steak or seafood dish to your supermarket freezer.

Daniel Einhorn, Mermade’s CEO, revealed that the company uses algae to slash the price of the nutrient-rich slurry, or growth medium, in which cells are grown. This could be a game changer because growth media have made alternative proteins prohibitively expensive.

“It’s an up to 10,000-fold potential reduction in cost,” Einhorn told the online audience at OurCrowd’s ‘Investing in the Circular Economy: From Trash to Cash.’ “Any tiny dent that you put in by lowering the amount of new medium that you need creates a very significant difference in cost.”

‘Investing in the Circular Economy: From Trash to Cash’ is now available to stream online:

Watch it now

In a two-pronged recovery process, Mermade harvests algae that is fed the waste expelled by the cells, then recycles the algae to make the slurry.

While other companies discard that cell waste, “we feed it to algae,” he said. “We grow algae on that cell waste, and that algae that grows is now a new source of nutrition for the cells.”

The company’s first product will be scallops, but Mermade expects to expand to other foods over time. “We’re making the same seafood that we all know and love, just without fishing,” Einhorn said.

He was among the experts and entrepreneurs discussing how production techniques can be reimagined to mitigate their devastating environmental impacts.

Maya Ashkenazi Otmazgin, CEO and Co-founder of Maolac, explains how the company extracts proteins like the ones found in mother’s breastmilk from the colostrum of birthing cows

Upcycling is also at the heart of breakthroughs by Israel’s Maolac. The company, co-founded by CEO Maya Ashkenazi Otmazgin, is using computational biology to turn bovine colostrum – the nutrient-rich first milk produced by cows for their newborns – into powerful food supplements and other products.

Five billion liters of bovine colostrum are thrown away each year. Maoloc transforms this waste into high-quality proteins that can be sold to food, supplement and skincare companies for integration into their own products.

“Basically, we are disrupting the bioactive ingredient market, and colostrum is just one of the ways that we are doing that,” Ashkenazi Otmazgin said.

The company has also developed a new capability: to identify and extract functional proteins from plants and extracts, she said.

Renewable energy is another sector that figures prominently in the meeting place between technology and efforts to reduce planetary impact.

UK-based Connected Energy gives a second life to partially depleted car batteries after they are taken off the road. It connects them together and redeploys them as an energy reserve for power grids. The company, which is working closely with French car giant Renault, is preparing for a big ramp-up in battery availability between 2024 and 2025.

“What we’re starting to do now is bringing in other OEMs alongside Renault, which will give us greater ability to scale up,” said CEO Matthew Lumsden. After kicking off in the UK and focusing on Benelux countries, “we will be working fairly closely over the next six to 12 months on starting to implement our strategy to build some traction in the States with OEM partners over there, to start capitalizing on a fairly buoyant energy-storage market in various states in the US.”

A system for turning organic waste into renewable energy on site developed by HomeBiogas was recently selected for use in an international mission in southern Israel that simulated the experience of living in a space station on Mars.

On Earth, humans have been disposing of waste in the same way for 200 years: throwing it into bins, collecting it on trucks and depositing it in landfills, said Oshik Efrati, CEO and Co-founder of HomeBiogas. That system has become increasingly problematic, with organic waste contributing 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Waste volume is growing while space for landfills is running out and disposal costs are rising.

“Our vision is to transform the world of waste for households and businesses,” Efrati said. “The HomeBiogas solution reduces operational costs, saves money, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves pollution and we create renewable energy on site.”

‘Investing in the Circular Economy: From Trash to Cash’ is now available to stream online:

Watch it now

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