A startup aiming to industrialize photosynthesis to expand the world’s food supply has raised £3 million seed funding.
Arborea is a technology business that has developed a breakthrough cultivation platform for photosynthetic microorganisms for use as food ingredients and proteins. It was founded by CEO Julian Melchiorri in 2015 following his research at Imperial College London.
Photosynthetic microorganisms are grown using Arborea’s Biosolar Leaf (BSL) technology, which provides a more productive and cost-effective method for industrial-scale cultivation than existing systems. The technology works by mimicking the mechanisms of a leaf to efficiently maintain the optimal growth conditions with minimal energy input. Furthermore, it is uniquely placed to separate CO2 from most exhaust gasses at atmospheric pressure and at low concentrations.
The funding round was led by BGF alongside Rubio Impact Ventures and Volta Circle. It will support the business to scale its BSL technology at a demo facility in Portugal, which will be used to demonstrate the company’s ability to cultivate commercial-grade high-value functional ingredients and proteins used in food and beverage (F&B) and nutraceutical applications.
Julian Melchiorri, CEO of Arborea, said: “We believe that photosynthetic microorganisms will be a key choice for the production of food ingredients and proteins due to their high productivity, versatility and low environmental impact.
Tijl Hoefnagels, Food & Ag Tech Venture Partner at Rubio Impact Ventures, said: ” We believe that microalgae have the potential to become one of the most sustainable sources of foods on our planet. Arborea has devised an innovative and elegant solution that leverages photosynthesis to convert plentiful and surplus inputs like CO2 into lipids, proteins and other food ingredients. We are proud to support their ambitions to bring algae production with a very low CO2 footprint to scale.”
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