Brevel launches microalgae protein plant

microalgae
Photo: Eldad Shatz

Microalgae protein company Brevel, Ltd. has opened its first commercial plant.

The new facility covers 27,000 square feet and has the capacity to produce hundreds of tons of microalgae protein powder to serve the global alternative protein space.

The new site in the desert periphery of Israel facilitates the introduction of Brevel’s new plant protein to the commercial food market by bringing production up to industrial levels.

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

Fermentation sees the light

Brevel cultivates its microalgae in indoor bioreactors via the fermentation of sugars. Unique to its technology is the simultaneous application of light and fermentation. This enables the generation of nutrient-rich microalgae in abundant yields, without any gene modification.

“Combining light and fermentation to produce microalgae is like putting an electric motor into a Tesla car,” said 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.”

Partnerships in place

Combining fermentation and light into a single process results in a steady supply of a white powdered 60 to 70% microalgae protein concentrate. Its functional qualities allow for seamless applications into a full range of 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 strategized 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 valorizes 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.

Flexible protein source

“This new facility is just the beginning for Brevel,” said 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. Brevel said product developers are actively seeking more neutral-tasting plant proteins as options to commonly used pea and soy proteins, which can pose flavour and texture challenges. The extracted microalgae protein is nutritious, has sensory appeal, and shares the same price bracket as soy and pea proteins.

Last year, the company netted nearly $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.

Jim Cornall is editor of Future Food Today and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.