BlueNalu, San Diego, Calif., released the design schematics for a large-scale production facility of cell-based seafood. This site is said to be the first time that any company provided facility design schematics illustrating the vision for large-scale production of foods via cellular agriculture or aquaculture. 

“We have developed an optimal strategy for scaling up production of cell-based seafood from a variety of finfish, crustaceans and mollusks to meet global demand,” says Lou Cooperhouse, president and CEO.  “BlueNalu will provide products that are healthy for people, humane for sea life and sustainable for our planet. As a result, we can have a major impact on supplementing our global supply chain for seafood.”

BlueNalu created a 5-phase commercialization strategy that starts with R&D and small-scale pilot testing, then evolves to a phase that enables market research testing and culminates in 150,000-square-foot food facilities. It is anticipated that each facility will produce up to 18 million pounds of finished seafood products per year, or about 72 million 4-ounce seafood fillets or equivalent units per year. 

BlueNalu is currently entering its first phase of development, producing whole seafood medallions and fillets at pilot-scale. The company plans to introduce products into a test market in 2-3 years, and break ground on its first large-scale production facility in five years. This production facility will meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines and comply with regulatory requirements determined by the FDA for food production.

“Over the past year, we have engaged with bioprocessing and food engineering specialists, as well as architects that specialize in food facility design and construction to determine the optimal process flow and the underlying assumptions that will result in maximum production capacity and flexibility and minimal capital and operational costs. As can be seen from our schematics, each production facility will look like a hybrid between a microbrewery and a conventional food production facility. BlueNalu’s food facilities will produce an array of raw and cooked, fresh and frozen seafood products that are prepared in a trusted and familiar way,” says Cooperhouse.

The BlueNalu facilities will be designed to serve regional population centers, initially focused on serving North America, Asia and Europe. The company intends to replicate its initial facility to dozens of locations across the globe, making continual operational enhancements along the way, and selecting varieties of fish, product applications and marketing channels to meet the needs of each selected region. BlueNalu’s strategy will contribute to a more stable global supply chain for seafood.

“We have recently developed stable fish muscle cell lines of multiple species, and accomplished this without using genetic engineering,” says Chris Dammann, chief technology officer. “This is critical, since large-scale production of seafood products will require a reliable and consistent supply of real fish muscle cells.”

BlueNalu plans to produce seafood from species that are overfished, primarily imported, contain higher levels of mercury and other environmental pollutants and/or are difficult to farm-raise.

“We are pleased that consumers worldwide are embracing alternative proteins,” says Cooperhouse. “BlueNalu is excited to announce that large-scale production of cell-based seafood is achievable in the near term.”