Marubeni injects capital into Singapore agri-venture MoBiol utilizing palm oil mill effluent

Microalgae to be utilized by Marubeni Corp. and MoBiol Holdings Pte. Ltd. for demonstration experiments on the production of alternative proteins and DHA from palm oil mill effluent (POME) (Photo courtesy of Marubeni Corp.)

SINGAPORE, NNA - Japanese trading house Marubeni Corp. will inject capital into Singapore agri-venture MoBiol Holdings Pte. Ltd. to form a partnership aimed at utilizing palm oil mill effluent (POME), a potential pollutant, to produce alternative proteins and DHA without harming the environment.

MoBiol has the technology to cultivate microalgae in POME wastewater and extract alternative proteins and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) as ingredients for fishmeal, which is growing in demand from the aquaculture fish industry in the region, Marubeni said in a statement on Monday.

The two companies have signed a contract on the tie-up under which they will soon set up a demonstration plant in Indonesia to conduct experiments toward the commercialization of the microalgae-derived alternative proteins and DHA as fishmeal ingredients, the statement said.

MoBiol was founded in February this year and managed by Japanese CEO Toshihide Nakajima. It has a subsidiary in Indonesia. Marubeni did not disclose the value and ratio of its investment in the agri startup.

The demonstration equipment will be installed at a palm oil plant on the Indonesian island of Sumatra to produce alternative proteins and DHA from POME wastewater by utilizing MoBiol’s microalgae technology, a Marubeni spokesman said. The products will be sold as ingredients for fishmeal, he added.

Construction of the demonstration plant will start in mid-October, and the plant is scheduled to start operations within this year, the spokesman said. The two companies are looking to expand the operations inside Indonesia and into Malaysia.

Marubeni has determined that MoBiol’s technology is effective in producing alternative proteins and DHA from natural resources as well as dissolving POME without emitting methane gas, which has a significant impact on climate change, as in the conventional process of treating POME, the statement said.

In palm oil-producing countries, including Indonesia and Malaysia, POME has been generally discarded into the natural environment, such as ponds where it generates methane gas – a greenhouse effect pollutant gas.

Moreover, on the other hand, demand for fishmeal is steadily growing in the Southeast Asian region, where the aquaculture fish industry is expanding in proportion to an increase in fish consumption.

NNA Report