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Refining green biomass into protein rich food

For the past three years, The Danish Technological Institute in partnership with industry collaborators has been researching the possibility of extracting dietary fiber from beet tops and grass. The project is called SUBLEEM 2.0 and has already received funding from the Green Development and Demonstration Program under the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

The project will explore technological solutions to fulfill the growing need for proteins from various green biomass sources, such as cultivated grasses with high protein content and sugar beet tops. The goal is to improve the utilisation of existing resource streams through biorefining in order to support companies with the creation of green growth in the future.

Pilot testing proves successful

Sugar beet tops today are just a residual product from sugar production, but they are high in protein and dietary fiber, and they share many of the same characteristics as soy, grass, and clover. Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and local foods, which prompts companies to direct their focus on the barriers of upcycling green biomass. The Danish Technological Institute who facilitates the SUBLEEM 2.0 project already has a pilot plant in Taastrup. It is designed with a variety of process equipment, which makes it flexible in terms of handling various types of biomasses.

It is important that the manufacturing process preserve the products’ functionality and quality so that they can be used in e.g. high-value foods. We have already reached this goal. At the same time, we have carried out a techno-economic evaluation that shows that there is a reasonable business model in utilizing sugar beet tops for food” says Anne Christine Hastrup, Director at the Danish Technological Institute’s Center for Bioresources and Biorefining.

A leap forward for Danish businesses

Increasing the use of green biomass for the production of food, feed, and functional bio-based products and materials has a huge benefit for Danish businesses and the economy in general. This has a variety of environmental and climate benefits, as well as strengthening Denmark’s potential and competitiveness in the bio-based circular economy by creating job and growth opportunities, as well as allowing for system exports of both equipment and knowledge to promote a circular resource economy locally, nationally, and internationally.

Source: Danish Technological Institute (In Danish)