Researchers from Finland have created a way to make synthetic food using electricity that is safe to eat in place of traditional meals. The nutrition that can be served for dinner is made up of a batch of single-cell protein which is created using renewable energy. The creation was a collaboration between Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and was created as part of the Food From Electricity project.
To make the synthetic food, all that is required for the complete process is electricity, water, carbon dioxide, and microbes. Recent reports have explained that by “exposing the raw materials to electrolysis in a bioreactor, the process forms a powder that consists of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates — the texture can also be changed by altering the microbes used in the production.”
Principal scientist at VTT, Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, has explained that the next stage will involve optimising the system, as it currently takes a period of around two weeks to produce just one gram of the protein. He said in a LUT press release, “We are currently focusing on developing the technology: reactor concepts, technology, improving efficiency, and controlling the process. Maybe 10 years is a realistic timeframe for reaching commercial capacity, in terms of the necessary legislation and process technology.”
The main benefits of using electricity to create food include an efficient way of providing food for starving people and those who are in areas with little agriculture. Pitkänen added that in the future, “the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine”.
A key factor of its success is that it is not dependent on environmental surroundings, meaning that it could be consistent with providing food to those who need it. Jero Ahola, a Professor at LUT, said in the press release that it “does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type.”
This method of creating food is also a way of decreasing global emissions as there will be less demand for livestock, as well as the crops that are needed to feed them. This will result in more free land as well as a reduction in greenhouse gases that are currently produced by the meat industry.
I am Jess Murray, wildlife conservationist, photographer and writer. I like to document the natural world and create awareness through my writing so that your future can be sustainable and positive. Follow my Facebook page and Instagram account to see what I am doing right now.
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