From Biomass to Fish Food: A Unique Way to Feed the World

What do forest conservation and fish food have in common?

TimberFish Technologies, LLC, a company in New York state, has created a unique technology to produce contaminate-free fish via a forest-based feed production system.

This addresses a global problem, says Dr. Jere Northrop, TimberFish’s inventor and CEO.

This would be a real benefit to the aquaculture system, says Northrop, most of which run on a “flow through” system, creating fish waste treatment issues. TimberFish proprietary microbial biomass technology utilizes recirculation to clean up the water. The fish waste runs through plant material, which takes the waste out, converts it back into microbes, then into feed.

“(This) recycling system uses the energy of plants to drive the process,” says Northrop.

TimberFish’s process would selectively harvest forest material, chip the wood, then put it into water. Wood is full of natural microbes that degrade wood. The fish waste becomes a food source for the microbes.

Wood is composed of 2 elements, explained Northrop – cellulose and lignan.

The microbes break down the cellulose. The result is high energy lignan, a complex compound present in streaks of wood.

When dried, the lignan can be burned, converting it into energy.

By harvesting 1,000 lbs of wood or biomass from the forest, then converting half that into fish feed, the rest would be converted to produce energy, heat, liquid fuel, or other combustion alternatives.

The process would produce enough energy to take care of all its needs. The rest could potentially be put into a commercial electrical grid for use as a regional energy district.

“By being able to produce fish from forests,” said Northrop, “we provide an economic incentive to restore the forest”

This is a way to produce food that doesn’t have the polluting or environmental problems that modern agriculture does, says Northrup. And this environmentally-friendly system could sequester large amounts of carbon.

“You can literally reverse global warming with this kind of technology,” Northrop said.

They currently have a small demonstration system running in western New York.

“It’s going to take governments, companies and individuals to see (this system’s) widespread implementation,” says Aaron Resnick, President of TimberFish.

They’re currently pursuing investors, licensees and/or joint ventures with existing fish farm aquaculture to partner with them to set up a production system.

Resnick and Northrop expect to have some form of production system up and running within a year.

“We think the potential is enormous,” he says. “We’ll literally create a new food source to feed our increasing population w/ high quality, non-polluted food”

For more information on this amazing technology, see