EXPERTS on Teesside are exploring whether fish excrement can be used to create saleable chemicals.
A project led by Redcar’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), in partnership with Norway-based Marine Bioproducts AS (MB), is to examine the commercial viability of the processing of fish waste to produce chemicals for the use in fermentation products.
The project, known as MarineIB seeks to establish new supply chains for its high value chemicals, which aim to deliver a more cost-effective, biological solution with improved performance in the market place.
The process uses by-products of fishing and aquaculture produced from sustainable marine aquaculture from the Norwegian salmon processing industry.
Through its patented process – water and enzymes are added to fish raw material to solubilise proteins, release the oil and allow the removal of the bones.
CPI is carrying out a feasibility study hoping to advance the process to the next level.
In order to achieve this CPI has conducted growth trials and undertaken protein expression trials on a range of micro-organisms.
The Teesside centre has so far successfully demonstrated that this substance serves well as a growth medium for a variety of industrial biotech organisms, and is particularly good for yeasts.
Aside from the creation of a new range of bio-based products, the MB approach is to optimise the use of marine resources by utilising more of the by-products.
MB established a commercial operation based on the sale of pet and livestock feed – at the lower end of value chain, but has the potential to develop a marine peptone for the fermentation market – the higher end of the value chain.
There are currently around 800,000 tonnes of co-products generated from fisheries and aquaculture in Norway each year.
About 75% of this volume is exploited into low value products. Using advanced biotechnological processing methods; MB can increase the value of this stock of marine co-products by producing sustainable, consistent material to support the development of bio-based products.
In 2011 MB processed 30.000 million tonnes, increasing the capacity to 60.000 million tonnes in the new plant in Norway.
This project could also help to realise an integrated marine bio-refinery between Norway and the UK, seeking to maximise value from sustainable marine resources. Consortium partners are fully engaged with the UK fish/food processing industry in Grimsby.