Turning natural gas into food?
BP said it's investing in a Silicon Valley startup that aims to help feed the world by turning natural gas into food for fish farms and livestock.There are abundant supplies of natural gas in the US to use as feedstock for this project. It is a project that should give the anti-energy left pause in its opposition to the development of resources like natural gas.
The British oil and gas major is putting $30 million into Calysta, which aims to meet the growing demand for feed in the aquaculture and agriculture markets - such as farmed fish, crustaceans and livestock - in more environmentally sustainable ways.
"By pairing Calysta's exciting technology and entrepreneurial drive with BP's global scale and gas market expertise, this partnership offers the opportunity to improve food security and sustainability for the world's growing population," said Dominic Emery, BP's group head of strategy.
Calysta specifically makes the "FeedKind" protein pellets. The company uses a naturally occurring bacteria that it grows in a proprietary fermentation process in which it feeds off of methane - the primary component of natural gas - as its carbon and energy source. The end result is animal food in the form of protein pellets.
Calysta already has one pilot plant in the United Kingdom with another one in Memphis currently under construction.
The company contends that one commercial-scale plant - if used to replace soy products for fish feed - would free up enough land to feed as many as 250,000 people.