Cell-Based Milk Maker TurtleTree To Scale With Solar Biotech’s Renewable-Powered Platform

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TurtleTree, the cell-based milk maker based out of the U.S. and Singapore, has just teamed up with Solar Biotech. Headquartered in North Carolina, Solar Biotech runs a scale-up platform for synbio companies—and TurtleTree is now going to use its bioprocessing technologies to help it produce its cultivated milk at scale. 

TurtleTree and Solar Biotech have just announced a new strategic partnership, which will see the Singapore-U.S. cell-based milk startup tap into Solar’s 100% solar-powered biomanufacturing platform and facility to scale and bring costs down. In June, TurtleTree revealed that its first product will be a cultured human lactoferrin, an immune-boosting component used in infant milk formulas and traditionally derived from cow’s milk.

TurtleTree and Solar Biotech partnership 

Solar Biotech helps precision fermentation companies and synbio startups scale up. (Image: Unsplash)

Solar Biotech is a B2B startup founded two years ago and its proprietary tech is designed to help food techs scale up. While primarily focused on precision fermentation, the company’s platform essentially customises modular plant architectures, which it calls “BioNodes”, for any specific bioproduct. It runs on 100% solar energy, helping partnering companies scale up their operations sustainably while keeping costs low. 

According to the Raleigh-based company, their process helps “reduce by 10-fold SynBio products time-to-market, from years to months, for a fraction of current costs.” Back in July, the startup secured $2 million in seed funding to continue building its scale up platform. 

Max Rye, co-founder and chief strategist at TurtleTree, says that collaborating with Solar Biotech “from the early days” has already “started to pay dividends”. 

“Our teams can focus on lab-scale R&D and go-to-market as we look to play a major role in the sustainable food supply chain, while Solar Biotech delivers the bioprocessing technologies required for production at scale,” Rye explained. 

TurtleTree co-founders Max Rye (L) and Fengru Lin (R). (Image: TurtleTree)

Scaling up sustainably with Solar 

TurtleTree, which currently stands as Asia’s only startup cell-culturing dairy and human breast milk, and one of few global players disrupting infant nutrition alongside Biomilq and Helaina, recently announced its plan to commercialise its first product within 12-18 months. 

A major part of the plan will be to bring costs down, which it is also doing through TurtleTree Scientific, its offshoot venture dedicated to making culture media and growth factors affordable, but also to scale and lower prices in a sustainable way—in line with the industry’s mission to change our current broken food system. 

For Alex Berlin, the founder, CEO and CTO of Solar Biotech, the answer lies in renewable energy and a circular economy approach embedded into the production of novel foods like cell-based and precision fermentation products. 

“My team and I are passionate about not only producing the food of the future but also about making a difference in the way these bioproducts are made,” says Berlin. 

“We are committed to making a difference, in particular, with a focus on the deployment of unique cutting edge and sustainable bioprocessing technologies. We believe solar energy and a circular economy strategy will play a major role in how we produce novel bio-processed ingredients.” 

Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.


  • Sally Ho

    Sally Ho is Green Queen's former resident writer and lead reporter. Passionate about the environment, social issues and health, she is always looking into the latest climate stories in Hong Kong and beyond. A long-time vegan, she also hopes to promote healthy and plant-based lifestyle choices in Asia. Sally has a background in Politics and International Relations from her studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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