Today, the aquafeed industry faces a huge protein supply gap. The European aquafeed industry, in particular, imports over half of the protein used in their products. Skretting (with their mother company, Nutreco), a Norwegian company and the largest aquafeed producer in the world, has set a clear goal to reduce 58% of their supply chain carbon footprint by 2030. Therefore, novel and low-footprint proteins are urgently needed.

Concept and Approach

The SynoProtein project aims to develop, mature, and demonstrate a novel carbon-negative process that converts forest residues into Single-Cell Proteins (SCP) for fish feed, along with the production of biochar for animal feed. By transforming low-value by-products into high-value bio-products, SynoProtein will provide a sustainable protein alternative to soybean and wild fish protein, to meet future demands.

The State of the art


• Develop a zero-emission process integrating thermochemical (pyrolysis) and biological (fermentation) steps;

• Scale up single-cell protein production to pilot scale;

• Investigate the suitability of the single-cell proteins and biochar for aquaculture and agriculture feed;

• Quantify carbon storage and use, assess environmental impacts and analyse the life cycle for the entire value chain – from forestry to feed production;

• Disseminate results to stakeholders, raise public awareness and develop a business plan for market entry.

Expected Impacts

SynoProtein is expected to lead to a number of impacts.

• It will increase the carbon-removal potential of bio-based systems, with annual carbon capture from its processes expected to reach 200 000 tonnes of CO2 by 2033. Also by 2033, deployment of the SynoProtein system could prevent nearly 460 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with fish feed production from soybeans.

• It will improve the environmental performance of bio-based processes through avoidance of the emission of hazardous substances. Moreover, compared with fish feed production from soybeans, implementation of the system would free up 147 km² of land and save 630 700 m³ of water by 2033.

• Unlike conventional conversion processes for sawmill residue, such as paper production or heat generation, it will create unseen value in a way that is carbon negative. Each year, the system could recover 160 000 tonnes of forestry residue and produce 120 000 tonnes of fish and animal feed, the value of which is estimated at €175 million.

• The project’s climate and economic added value will be shared with stakeholders to increase acceptance and uptake of the solutions. The process can halve production and sales prices for single-cell proteins, leading to savings of €129.6 million by 2033, as well as creating 260 jobs and reducing Europe’s reliance on feed imports.

Contribution to UN SDGs

• Emission reduction
– UNSDG 13

• Industrial innovation

• Sustainable production
– UNSDG 12

• Protection of water and marine resources
–UNSDG 6 & 14


The SynoProtein consortium brings together 11 key industry and research players from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and German to assemble the whole value chain from wood residues to feed: WAI Environmental Solutions AS (WAI), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), University of Boras (HB), SINTEF Industry (SI), SINTEF Energy Research (SER), Norwegian Institute for Sustainability Research (NORSUS), Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (NOFIMA), Research Institute of Sweden AB (RISE), Bergene Holm AS (BH), Skretting Aquaculture Research Center AS (Skretting), and Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie (DECHEMA).


Designed and engineered for energy storage applications, primarily in the field of Na-ion battery. From forest residue, WAI produces advanced carbon materials that can be used for hard carbon production.


Innovative single-cell protein, a high-quality and sustainable protein to meet the increasing feed demand for aquaculture, pets, and livestock