Plans to
develop a new krill-based protein plant in Norway have progressed this week after
Aker BioMarine signed a deal with GEA to supply the process systems.

GEA, one of
the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage, and
pharmaceutical sectors, estimates the pilot plant will be operational in late
2022.

With the signing of an engineering,
procurement and construction (EPC) contract for delivery of process equipment
with GEA, Aker Biomarine is taking the next step toward commercialization of
INVI – a premium krill-based protein ingredient for use in food, beverage and
nutraceutical segments targeted towards sports nutrition and general wellness
consumers.

According
to Aker Biomarine the product is sustainably sourced from Antarctica and has a
best in class nutritional profile and unique functional benefits new and
exciting opportunities for brands to launch innovative products.

As the
first purpose-built krill protein development and production facility, Aker
hopes that the site will enable fast paced product and process development, as
well as volume for commercial launch partners.

GEA will design, supply and install
an integrated system of equipment and process installations to produce INVI
from krill. The plant is designed with high flexibility to facilitate further
product development and innovation.

“With GEA’s experience in
engineering facilities and systems for industries like ours, we aim for a
highly innovative, technology-based plant, which will also house a research and
innovation centre,” said Kees van de Watering, Aker’s VP of process engineering, in a press release.

“We aim to closely collaborate with
Aker BioMarine in the development of their krill-based protein plant in order
to create a state-of-the-art plant that optimizes production, puts innovation
first, and makes use of the digital solutions at our disposal today,” added
Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, SVP of liquid technologies at GEA. “It’s an exciting pilot
that will set the standard for future INVI production facilities, and we’re
thrilled to be a part of its development.”

After running a global site search
process, Aker BioMarine selected Ski Næringspark in Norway as the location of
the facility. In selecting this site, Aker BioMarine will contribute to the
further development of the competence environment for marine biotechnology in
Norway and leverage R&D expertise from its headquarters in Fornebu. The
investment was made possible by the support received through Innovation
Norway’s Extraordinary Innovation Grant to bring these activities home after
early development in Denmark and the US.

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