HAMBURG, GERMANY — Agrifoodtech startup MicroHarvest announced April 17 it has been recognized for its sustainable protein ingredient. The company was named a winning innovator at the 2023 BloombergNEF (BNEF) Pioneers awards.

Leveraging proprietary technology, MicroHarvest produces a highly nutritious, sustainable protein for a range of applications, including animal feed, human food and pet food. The high-quality ingredient contains more than 60% protein, can be produced within 24 hours from input to output, and reduces the amount of required land needed for traditional proteins by 99%. According to MicroHarvest, its quick production speed and high efficiency far exceeds other existing approaches to sustainable proteins.

MicroHarvest was named a winning innovator by BNEF for its ability to help build a net-zero food production system.

“To be awarded this prestigious Pioneers prize by the BNEF amongst such impressive competition is something that we’re extremely proud of,” said Katelijne Bekers, co-founder and chief executive officer of MicroHarvest. “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 the 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,” Bekers added. “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.”

BNEF received nearly 350 applications for its awards, seeking companies that offer a novel, scalable and competitive solution to tackle environmental sustainability. MicroHarvest’s proteins were chosen for their potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions, environmental sustainability, technological innovation, novelty, strong likelihood of adoption and potential scalability.

“The search for new climate-technology solutions has never been as urgent,” said Claire Curry, selection committee co-chair and global head of technology, industry and innovation research at BNEF. “Technologies under development now must scale by 2030 if they are to play a significant role in helping reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Over the past three cycles of the Pioneers competition, we have chosen to focus on innovation areas where there are particularly large decarbonization hurdles.

“My belief is that our 2023 winners have the technology edge, the talent and the right support systems to play a significant role in overcoming the hurdles in scaling green hydrogen, producing sustainable metals at scale and in decarbonizing our food production system,” she added. “We have now had 141 Pioneers winners since 2010, many of which have played an essential role in the energy and climate transition since their win. I look forward to seeing our 2023 winners do the same in the next decade.”

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