Based at Tech Central in South Eveleigh, Sydney, the centre is the first phase of a plan by the University of Sydney to develop Australia’s research and development of alternative proteins. Phase two could see an even larger facility built in Camden with 60 industry partners already in support.
By 2050, the earth’s population is expected to grow to 10 billion and with it a growing demand for protein.
“There will need to be a 43 to 45 per cent increase in protein production,” said Professor Brent Kaiser, co-lead of APAC and a legume biology specialist. It’s not possible to meet this demand with existing resources and processes available on earth. New, more sustainable methods need to be discovered to offer new food pipelines.
“We need to find more efficient ways to produce more, like tapping into food waste and by-product streams,” said Professor Kaiser.
Countries like Singapore, the US and Canada have already identified the opportunity that alternative proteins offer and are investing heavily to secure future food systems. It is estimated the industry could attract as much as $10 billion in additional revenue to Australia by 2030.
The grant will enable APAC to invest in food processing equipment used for extraction and texturisation, vertical farming, cellular engineering and fermentation. Food start-up companies will be able to access expensive equipment needed to design and create an initial proof of concept. The centre will also train students and build local expertise in the field.
“It will further boost our capability for collaboration with the food industry,” said Professor Fariba Dehghani, co-lead of APAC and an expert in food engineering. “It will also support our existing research collaboration with multiple industry partners for the development of alternative protein sources for manufacturing innovative and nutritional food products from Australian plants and other sources of protein.”
Once up and running, the centre will be able to support innovative solutions like one student’s start-up developing plant-based cheese. Now that’s a novel way to eat your greens.
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