Agrifoodtech start-up MicroHarvest, a leading biotech company on a mission to build the sustainable food system of tomorrow, has been named as winning innovator for its response to the challenge of ‘Building a net-zero food production system’ by a panel of expert judges at the prestigious 2023 BloombergNEF (BNEF) Pioneers awards.

With competition from almost 350 applications received by the BNEF, the Lisbon-and-Hamburg based company proved its credentials amongst worldwide peers by offering a novel, scalable and competitive solution to tackling the challenge of building towards a net-zero economy. The company's development of technology able to harness the power of microorganisms to produce nutritious and sustainable protein was judged against three criteria: its potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions and environmental sustainability, its degree of technology innovation and novelty, and its likelihood of adoption and potential scalability. MicroHarvest’s highly efficient protein production process suitably impressed the judges, earning the company its place alongside a prestigious group of Pioneer awards alumni.

This proprietary technology – based on biomass fermentation – enables production at a speed and efficiency that far exceeds other existing approaches. The result is quality protein ingredients containing over 60% raw protein, that can be produced within 24 hours from input to output. Possible applications along the whole protein value chain are manifold, ranging from animal feed to direct application in food and pet food.

Katelijne Bekers, MicroHarvest Co-Founder & CEO, said: “To be awarded this prestigious Pioneers prize by the BNEF amongst such impressive competition is something that we’re extremely proud of. The MicroHarvest team have made significant progress in overcoming the challenges associated with scaling biotechnological processes. We’re developing technology that fuels the resilient food system of tomorrow producing the nutritious and sustainable protein ingredients that the world will need in a very near future. We have already successfully completed a production trial at scale within our first two years, which is an exceptional speed in the fermentation-enabled alternative protein space. Based on our results to date, we are confident that we can marry the sustainability and scale necessary to become a champion of future protein in the B2B ingredients industry”.