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Drax Group part of ‘ground-breaking’ UK carbon recycling project

Drax Group is part of a ‘ground-breaking’ carbon recycling project set to transform the UK’s food production systems.

REACT-FIRST is the UK’s first-ever scalable route to the sustainable generation of protein by capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from bioenergy generation. The scheme has launched with £3 million in financial support from the UK Government and will work towards the nation’s net-zero goals.

The scheme is led by carbon recycling biotechnology firm Deep Branch, which has pioneered a process that uses microbes to convert CO2 from industrial emissions and turn them into high-value proteins. The project launches with a consortium of 10 industry and academic partners that all share a commitment to tackling the climate crisis and achieving neutral or negative carbon emissions.

The members of the REACT-FIRST consortium are:

  • Deep Branch, experts in recycling industrial CO2

  • Drax Group

  • BioMar, one of the world’s largest aquafeed producers

  • AB Agri, a global agri-food business and leading producer of monogastric feed

  • Sainsbury’s, recognised as the world’s best sustainable seafood retailer in 2017

  • The Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, a network of 100+ key stakeholders from the aquaculture industry

  • The Synthetic Biology Research Centre at the University of Nottingham, the world-leading gas infrastructure fermentation research group

  • The Institue of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, the UK’s leading aquaculture research centre

  • Nottingham Trent University’s School of Animal Rural and Environmental Sciences – experts in assessing sustainable poultry production

  • Innogen, University of Edinburgh, experts in value chain integration and responsible innovation


Peter Rowe, CEO of Deep Branch, said: “Currently, most animal feed protein sources are imported from overseas, making the UK dependent on complicated and fragile supply chains. REACT-FIRST has been created to focus solely on addressing this problem.

“Projects like REACT-FIRST are key to help the industry move towards achieving net-zero emissions. Its solution uses the technology developed by Deep Branch, but while this has huge transformative potential, commercialisation is not possible without cooperation with key stakeholders across the value chain.

“REACT-FIRST addresses this, with its consortium of industrial and academic organisations, and even though relationships within these verticals are well established, the project represents the first time that the resources and expertise of all parties have been unified towards a single goal.”

Through the project, Drax is providing further support through its expertise in site integration and CO2 lifecycle analysis. Drax Group’s chief innovation officer, Jason Shipstone, commented: “By working with other businesses through the REACT-FIRST consortium, together we can help more difficult to decarbonise sectors, like agriculture, to make positive changes to address the climate crisis.”




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