4 million kgs per year: Comet Bio announces investment in sustainable Danish manufacturing facility

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

Comet Bio has developed a process to turn leftover corn and wheat stalks into functional ingredients.    Image © Dariusz Banaszuk / Getty Images
Comet Bio has developed a process to turn leftover corn and wheat stalks into functional ingredients. Image © Dariusz Banaszuk / Getty Images

Related tags: start-up, Upcycling, Investment

Comet Bio – a startup developing prebiotics, functional fibers and sweeteners from upcycled ingredients – has announced an investment with RE Energy to build a dedicated manufacturing facility in Denmark to supply Comet Bio's Arrabina prebiotic fiber.

To-date, the company’s supply chain has relied on pilot and contract manufacturing facilities where it produces commercial batches on a campaign basis.  These volumes have been sufficient to meet customer needs thus far, but the facility in Kalundborg, Denmark will allow the company to increase production of its arabinoxylan plant fiber extract (branded as Arrabina) from thousands of kilograms per year to over four million kilograms.

RE Energy, a REE Holding company, will upgrade and expand its existing facility in Kalundborg. RE Energy will also operate the new facility under supervision of Comet Bio.

Upcycling

Comet Bio can extract the prebiotic arabinoxylan for its Arrabina from a variety of sources such as wheat straw, brewer's grains, corn stover and pea husks.

“Arabinoxylan has some distinct advantages in the space given its high-tolerability (you can eat a lot without experiencing digestive issues) and high-potency (you don’t need much for prebiotic effects), providing formulators with a “wide therapeutic window​,” Troyer recently told FoodNavigator-USA​. “We’re seeing prebiotic effects with only 3g a day.”

The ingredient is reported to promote growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, help maintain healthy blood glucose levels, and support immunity.

The RE Energy facility will partner with Danish farmers to source local wheat straw for Arrabina production. The partnership will benefit the farmers by fully utilizing their whole harvest, providing a new revenue stream while also improving the circularity of the food chain.

“RE Energy is a great partner and we are excited to be investing with them to build a dedicated manufacturing facility,”​ said Comet Bio CEO Rich Troyer. “This partnership will allow us to serve our customers' needs for a prebiotic fiber that is fully soluble and easy to add to nutrition bars, baked goods, beverages or any other format that consumers go to for gut health benefits.”

Troyer told NutraIngredients-USA the facility should be ready for start-up late 2022.

Comet Bio, which was named as Start-up of the Year in the 2020 NutraIngredients-USA Awards​, is based in London, Ontario, and Schaumburg, Illinois.

Comet Bio recently completed a $25 million Series C financing​ and will use some of those proceeds for this investment. Troyer told us that RE Energy is investing in their facility, while his company will be buying and installing equipment for their production processes. “It’s a co-investment,”​ he said.

“Environmentally sustainable manufacturing”

RE Energy was established in 2020 with the purpose of bringing the Kalundborg biorefinery back in operation. The plant was the "first of its kind" able to produce advanced biofuel from straw (2G ethanol), and it now being refurbished and brought back to life to serve the growing demand for cleaner manufacturing of food and feed ingredients and biomaterials for industrial applications.

“We have great expectations that we, through the cooperation with Comet Bio, will be able to create and operate an innovative and sustainable manufacturing facility for this exciting new product,”​ said Henrik Maimann, CEO of RE energy.

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