Calysta and Its Happy Meal
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) It’s not just fish meal, it’s happy meal — for investors, we hear. As Calysta pivots towards methane-to-protein and supersizes its business plan, we visit with CEO Alan Shaw to find out who’s lovin’ it. … For now, Alan (Shaw)’s gone over to methane; that’s Calysta’s feedstock of choice, and he’s arrived today at the Methane Bioengineering Summit in San Diego, organized by Infocast, to talk up the near-term potential of single-cell protein. And Calysta’s exciting position in the chase.”
“Fish meal prices and natural gas prices have changed dramatically,” said Shaw, “and fish meal is expected to grow at a compounded 6.7 percent rate over the next 15 years. At the same time, natural gas discoveries are keeping the gas price below $3, although we can make money with gas below $10.”
It’s true. Natural gas prices are, famously, at extremely low levels and have been for a number of years. Meanwhile, a global shortage of fish meal has led to $1500 per ton prices, if you can hit the product spec. A number of algae companies are aimed at the same market. But, there’s the risk that they will end up with chicken-feed specs and chicken-feed prices, which are almost an order of magnitude lower.
“To use methanotrophs to unlock the hidden value in methane, and to establish a gas fermentation platform that can be used for an entire range of products, or even a range of feedstocks like carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide. It’s just brilliant, there’s no other way to describe it. But we need a product; otherwise we are going to be a technology platform company and its just hard to make money doing that; you end up making money for everyone else.” READ MORE