Algae, Microalgae & Seaweed

Biomass Fermentation Leader Brevel Inaugurates Commercial Plant for Affordable, Nutritious Microalgae Protein

Israel’s Brevel, a biomass fermentation startup using microalgae protein to create sustainable ingredients, announces the grand opening of its first commercial plant.

Last July, the company secured $18.5 million in seed funding led by NevaTeam Partners and backed by the European Union’s EIC Fund, facilitating the current phase of commercial-scale production and global expansion.

Located in Israel’s desert periphery, the new site covers 27,000 square feet (2,500m²) and includes headquarters, a large R&D center, and a large commercial manufacturing area. It features multiple bioreactors at different scales: 3, 50, 500 L, and the company’s first 5,000 L bioreactor.

Brevel opens commercial plant
Image supplied by Brevel, credit Daniela Kurz

At the new site, Brevel can produce hundreds of tons of its flagship ingredient — a 60-70% microalgae protein concentrate for meat and dairy alternatives. The first products are set to launch by the first quarter of 2025.

“While we are starting with one 5,000 L bioreactor, we will be able to increase capacity up to a total of 30,000 L in the current facility,” Yonatan Golan, CEO and co-founder, told Cultivated X.

A clean-label protein powder

Established in 2016 by three Golan brothers, CEO Yonatan, COO Matan, and CTO Ido, Brevel has developed a biomass fermentation process that utilizes sugar, a microalgae strain from the chlorella family, and light to produce cost-effective, functional proteins and other co-products such as oil and fibers.

Image supplied by Brevel, credit Eldad Shatz

“The strain of microalgae we use has GRAS approval and is not considered ‘Novel Food’ by EFSA. However, the extracted protein has to undergo regulatory approval — a process we are already fully engaged in,” Yonatan told us.

The resulting non-GMO protein ingredient is said to deliver a complete amino acid profile, while its neutral flavor and color allow for multiple F&B applications. When asked about the technology to create a white and neutral flavor, Yonatan told us they had to develop a unique downstream process, finely tuned to the growing phase, to produce a “very clean, white protein product with a neutral flavor.”

In addition, the microalgae protein can seamlessly replace other plant-based proteins like soy and pea, whilst offering some advantages over such classic ingredients: its use requires fewer flavor-masking agents than other plant proteins, while it can replace thickening, gelling, and other additives in plant-based cheese.

Brevel new plant
Image supplied by Brevel, credit Eldad Shatz

“We grow natural microalgae the same as they grow in nature. We then extract the highly nutritious and functional proteins which are native to the microalgae,” he added.

Collabs for product launches

The company plans to collaborate with partners to launch products that include Brevel’s protein starting in early 2025. Additionally, Brevel is developing other products alongside protein, utilizing its co-products such as lipids, non-soluble protein, fibers, and pigments for the dietary supplement industry. These will be introduced as the company’s research and development advances over the coming years.

Golan brothers
Image supplied by Brevel, credit Eldad Shatz

In 2022, Brevel partnered with VGarden, a vegan food manufacturer, to develop a high-protein plant-based cheese. After obtaining regulatory approval, the product is set to launch first in global markets and later in Israel.

“We have strategized several joint-venture partnerships in the US, Europe, and Asia. The result will be the construction of larger facilities to fulfill growing demands for our sustainable protein in multiple applications,” Yonatan shared.

Just the beginning

The inauguration event welcomed more than 150 attendees, including investors, food tech startups, government representatives, and food manufacturers. Brevel gave tours of the new state-of-the-art facility, and the visitors enjoyed tastings of various plant-based cheese analogs to demonstrate the capabilities of the microalgae protein in providing nutritional value without compromising flavor or appearance.

CTO Ido Golan commented, “This new facility is just the beginning for 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.”

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