Novel Biofeedstocks using Geothermal Resources

photo credit: ALLY MACFARLANE

Our team will be the first to couple the production of a biofeedstock with geothermal waste gases and geothermal-sourced microorganisms.

Project Goals  

Laboratory scale-research has shown that a co-culture of geothermal microorganisms (a bacteria and an algae) can consume industrial waste gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) as a food source for growth. This generates a biomass rich in protein (ca. 60%) that has passed initial toxicity and nutritional testing on mice.

In the next step towards commercialisation, we are optimising operating conditions and improving yields at pilot scale (1,000 L).

We are taking a flexible approach in order to:

  1. optimise the processing technology (for cost, efficiency, and quality),
  2. customise the biomass output (by tweaking inputs and process conditions), and
  3. align the product with the most suitable market (to maximise commercial return).

The benefits of a locally sourced natural alternative for feed helps in the reduction of scope 3 emissions and reliance on constrained global supply chains.

Potential Markets

The biomass could be used as an animal feed ingredient (biofeedstock), for human nutrition, and, perhaps, to produce high value nutraceuticals or pigments.

We will do the technical development and will evaluate target markets and pathways to these markets, including regulatory requirements and analysis of the techno-economics.

Product-market fit underpins the development of the commercial pathway. We will work to iteratively identify optimal products, markets and price point for maximum value, based on optimisation of the process inputs and assessment of the product-market fit.

The process transforms a cost-incurring greenhouse gas waste stream from geothermal operations into an asset that attracts revenue and has a positive use.


  • Funder: Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) - SFFF Partnership
  • Lead Organisation: Tauhara North 2 Trust (TN2T)
  • Project Manager: Upflow
  • Research Partners: TN2T, Upflow, University of Canterbury, Cawthron, Scion
  • Industry Partners: Inghams Group

Partner with us

We are looking for industry sector partners to test the applicability of this technology for different markets. These essential partners provide insights into product needs, nutritional requirements, competitive options, decarbonisation demands, and market specific regulatory processes.

Contact us to discuss potential alignment and interest.