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New study to look into hydrogen to fuel food production

David Wylie, Senior Project Officer Menter Môn

Anglesey-based social enterprise, Menter Môn has launched a new partnership, which will carry out a feasibility study using hydrogen to produce sustainable food through precision fermentation.

Funded by the Welsh Government, FerMôntation will be the first project of its kind in Wales to look at hydrogen to produce protein. The project will assess the viability of hydrogen to produce sustainable food and how it can add value to the economy in Wales.

David Wylie, Senior Project Officer at Menter Môn explains: “We’re proud to be the first group in Wales to be using this technology and grateful to the Welsh Government for their support.

“Precision fermentation is considered as part of the Agri-Tech sector. It’s a refined form of brewing and is a means of multiplying microbes to create specific products. Using this process, we will trial the hydrogen as fuel to develop a variety of food products such as alternative proteins and animal feed.

“The project demonstrates the value of delivering across sectors and is possible due to the range of projects which Menter Môn manages – from hydrogen to agri-tech.”

Menter Môn is collaborating with partner Lafan Consulting Group on this work.

Dr Irfan Rais, Research Consultant at Lafan Consulting Group. Picture Mandy Jones

Dr Irfan Rais, Research Consultant at Lafan Consulting Group said: “This is a really exciting project. Precision Fermentation has the potential to do some astonishing things; to shrink the footprint of food production and makes reducing the extreme dependency of many nations on food shipped from distant places a possibility. It can help develop proteins which are healthy and tasty. It’s a sustainable, cost-effective, and an environmentally friendly way of producing food.”

Gethin While – Head of Smart Living at the Welsh Government, who are funding the project through SRBI HyBRID 2.0, added: “We’ve been captivated from the start by the exciting possibilities and ambitious outcomes of this project. It meets Welsh Government targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to emissions to zero by 2050 and addresses the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015) by creating employment opportunities in green and sustainable sectors.

“It is hoped that the development of this project will increase the economic prospects of Wales and improve the environmental wellbeing through the transition into a greener economy. We look forwards to seeing the results and examining the prospects.”

The first phase of the project will run until June and if successful the project will move onto the second phase of launching a demonstration unit in September.