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DAiry Waste and REsidues upCYCLing into Microbial ProtEin

Alternative title: DAiry Waste and REsidues upCYCLing into Microbial ProtEin

Awarded: NOK 3.4 mill.

Europe is facing a big problem with getting enough protein. This is because we don't produce enough proteins to meet globally growing demand. Not having enough protein affects both the food we eat, the feed we give to animals and the things we make. One way to fix this problem is to find new sources of protein that we can use. By finding different kinds of protein, we can make sure we have enough for various applications. For example, the feed industry relies a lot on protein from other places outside Europe. But this isn't sustainable in the long run. That's where the DARE2CYCLE project comes in. DARE2CYCLE is an international project that aims to solve the protein problem in Europe and Norway in a smart way. The project will create a new system where we can recycle waste from dairy farms and side streams from dairy production and turn it into something useful: protein. This protein can be used in food or other products, like packaging materials. In the DARE2CYCLE project, researchers from Norway together with the Norwegian dairy company TINE will develop for the first time a robust fermentation process to turn waste from dairy farms and dairy side streams into high-quality fungal protein. This protein can then be used to make all kinds of things, from feed to packaging materials. By doing this, the DARE2CYCLE project will contribute to that Europe and Norway has enough protein in the long run but also to make the Norwegian dairy industry more sustainable.

DARE2CYCLE project will develop a novel biorefinery platform combining the recovery of carbon and nutrients from excess dairy side streams, waste milk and dairy manure with their upcycling into microbial protein (MP) to be used as alternative feed and food protein additives as well as building block for protein-based bioplastics to be used in food packaging applications. The DARE2CYCLE platform will target high product yields and quality while optimizing energy- and resource-efficiency to reduce GHG emissions and maximize profitability in crucially important agri-food sectors. DARE2CYCLE project will investigate, develop and integrate a series of innovative processes. In addition, the DARE2CYCLE platform will be systematically evaluated and improved by using computational experiments to explore the most promising system-level solutions. Finally, the integration of life cycle and techno-economic assessment and the engagement of pre- and post-farm gate stakeholders across the European dairy industry will ensure balanced and positive impacts across all dimensions of sustainability. Ultimately, by following a holistic system approach, the DARE2CYCLE project will demonstrate the production of sustainable and locally sourced alternative proteins directly from typically overabundant dairy waste and residues through energy-efficient, cost-competitive and cross-contamination safe recovery, upcycling and valorisation processes. DARE2CYCLE is highly ambitious project and to accomplish its main objectives, a complementary consortium of research and industry partners from five countries across Europe covering whole value chain was brought together.

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