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·         Would you eat a burger made out of CO2 captured from the air?

It may sound strange, but a startup called Solar Foods is transforming CO2 into food they want to bring to grocery stores as an “alternative” protein in the next couple of years.

 

·         Finnish Company Claims to Conjure Protein-Rich Food Out of Thin Air

Air + water + electricity = unicorn investment

 

 

Would you eat a burger made out of CO2 captured from the air?

It may sound strange, but a startup called Solar Foods is transforming CO2 into food they want to bring to grocery stores as an “alternative” protein in the next couple of years.

 

By Adele Peters, Fast Company

07.08.19

 

The startups using new technology to pull carbon dioxide from the air are beginning to use that CO2 to make products like fuel and, in one case, inviting consumers to pay to store it underground as a way to fight climate change. But it can also be an ingredient in food.

 

Solar Foods, a Finland-based company, has developed a process to use renewable electricity and CO2 to produce a healthy ingredient that looks like wheat flour and contains 50% protein. The company is currently gathering data to apply for a food license from the EU later this year and plans to begin commercial production in 2021.

 

“We started to think about what are the preconditions that you could have in order to establish the most environmentally friendly food,” says CEO and cofounder Pasi Vainikka, who previously worked as a researcher at Finland’s national research institute. By using the basic materials of electricity and CO2, they realized, it would be possible to make food that could avoid the massive environmental footprint of agriculture—which comprises everything from land and water use to the emissions from fertilizing crops or raising animals.

 

Food made through fermentation, like beer or lab-grown meat, currently relies on feeding plant sugars to microbes. The new process replaces those sugars with carbon. “Because we don’t use sugars, or similar agricultural feedstocks, we can completely disconnect from agriculture,” Vainikka says. The process uses solar power to split water through electrolysis in a bioreactor, creating hydrogen that can give microbes energy as they’re also fed carbon. The microbes produce a food that’s composed of roughly 20-25% carbs, 5-10% fat, and 50% protein.

 

It’s a far more efficient way to produce protein than raising cattle. Producing a single burger, by one estimate, requires 64.5 square feet of land, mostly for cattle feed. Grazing cattle and growing grains to feed them are both leading causes of deforestation in places like the Amazon. Another study estimates that producing a burger uses as much as 660 gallons of water. Meat is also a major source of CO2 emissions. The new protein powder, called Solein, claims to be 100 times more climate-friendly than any animal or even plant-based alternative. It can yield 10 times more usable protein per acre than soy production, the company says.

 

When it starts showing up in grocery stores—within the next two years, if all goes according to plan—it won’t be in its powder form but as an ingredient in products like protein shakes, perhaps, or plant-based yogurt. That’s in part because it’s likely most palatable for consumers: Bags of CO2-based flour might not gain as much acceptance. For plant-based meat companies like Impossible Foods, which focus on the environment, it could be a way to shrink their environmental footprints even further. “We know Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods use pea protein, soy proteins,” says Vainikka. “And if they scale big time, they need a lot of these proteins.” Further in the future, the ingredient could be used to 3D-print new foods or used as a feedstock for “clean meat” grown in bioreactors.

 

Because the process is fully disconnected from traditional agriculture, the company is also working with the European Space Agency as a potential source of food for astronauts in space (this concept was something that NASA first considered in the middle of the 20th century but never brought to life). The company also envisions eventually working in areas that haven’t been able to support agriculture in the past, such as deserts or the Arctic. It might spawn new business models in the future:

 

more, including links

https://www.fastcompany.com/90372330/would-you-eat-a-burger-made-out-of-co2-captured-from-the-air

 

 

Finnish Company Claims to Conjure Protein-Rich Food Out of Thin Air

Air + water + electricity = unicorn investment

 

by James Hansen, Eater London

Jul 8, 2019

 

Water + microbes + air = venture capital

 

Finnish company Solar Foods is the latest potential culinary unicorn that claims to unearth a process capable of producing large-scale nourishment for a world in need of a climate-friendly alternative to current means of production. This time, it’s waterborne microbes + hydrogen + carbon dioxide = high-protein powder that can be 3D-printed into whatever shape food companies and investors may desire. It’s being tested in space. It seems legit.

 

Solar’s powder, Solein, joins Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat in not just producing a new kind of food, but actively marketing it as an environmental, and thereby ethical good, with designs on bettering agriculture and aquaculture. It posits a “new” system of consumption despite, naturally, depending entirely on existing frameworks of factory production, supply, demand, logistics, and infrastructure, and tacitly rejects the idea that solutions to the global food system’s limitations lie in improving and/or redistributing the existing system.

 

Solein breaks from the burgers based on plants in that it does not suggest an extant product — lentils, or peas, or beans — need a middleman to promote environmental salvation and turn legumes into patties; it’s also...

 

more, including links  

https://london.eater.com/2019/7/8/20685202/solar-foods-protein-food-substitute-climate-change