A batch of single-cell protein has been produced by using electricity and carbon dioxide in a joint study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Protein produced in this way can be further developed for use as food and animal feed. The method releases food production from restrictions related to the environment. The protein can be produced anywhere renewable energy, such as solar energy, is available.
“In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to, for instance, deserts and other areas facing famine. One possible alternative is a home reactor, a type of domestic appliance that the consumer can use to produce the needed protein,” explains Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, Principal Scientist at VTT.
Along with food, the researchers are developing the protein to be used as animal feed. The protein created with electricity can be used as a fodder replacement, thus releasing land areas for other purposes, such as forestry. It allows food to be produced where it is needed.
“Compared to traditional agriculture, the production method currently under development does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type. This allows us to use a completely automatised process to produce the animal feed required in a shipping container facility built on the farm. The method requires no pest-control substances. Only the required amount of fertiliser-like nutrients is used in the closed process. This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases,” says Professor Jero Ahola of LUT.
Tenfold energy efficiency
According to estimates by the researchers, the process of creating food from electricity can be nearly 10 times as energy-efficient as common photosynthesis, which is used for cultivation of soy and other products. For the product to be competitive, the production process must become even more efficient. Currently, the production of one gram of protein takes around two weeks, using laboratory equipment that is about the size of a coffee cup.
The next step the researchers are aiming for is to begin pilot production. At the pilot stage, the material would be produced in quantities sufficient for development and testing of fodder and food products. This would also allow a commercialisation to be done.
“We are currently focusing on developing the technology: reactor concepts, technology, improving efficiency and controlling the process. Control of the process involves adjustment and modelling of renewable energy so as to enable the microbes to grow as well as possible. The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common. The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy,” Ahola states.
50 per cent protein
“In the long term, protein created with electricity is meant to be used in cooking and products as it is. The mixture is very nutritious, with more than 50 per cent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates. The rest is fats and nucleic acids. The consistency of the final product can be modified by changing the organisms used in the production,” Pitkänen explains.
The study is part of the wide-ranging Neo-Carbon Energy research project carried out jointly by the LUT and VTT. the aim of the project is to develop an energy system that is completely renewable and emission-free. The Food from Electricity study is funded by the Academy of Finland, and runs for four years.
The Latest on: World hunger
- ‘We all know who the favourites are for the World Cup and it’s not us’on September 7, 2019 at 9:43 am
who retires after the World Cup, a more recognisable Irish team turned up and showed enough at least to swagger into Yokohama in 15 days time to face Scotland with a winning mien and a sharpened ...
- England Rugby World Cup injury news: Eddie Jones confirms Mako Vunipola and Jack Nowell will miss openerson September 7, 2019 at 7:19 am
Jones hailed England's hunger for success after they turned a nine-point half ... so he is really coming into good form in time for the World Cup." Italy coach Conor O'Shea said he was baffled by the ...
- Mason: Hunger has fueled Yankees' rise to the top of AL Easton September 6, 2019 at 7:06 pm
So how in the wide world of sports did we get here ... no matter what level of grind it is in the season, that hunger has carried them well,” Boone added. “They, I think in a lot of ways, feel like ...
- Manager Aaron Boone says hunger key to Yankees improvementon September 6, 2019 at 4:19 pm
The source of that hunger was not available to the defending World Series champion Red Sox. “I think a lot of the players feel like there’s a lot of unfinished business,” Boone said. From a spring ...
- Agricultural Wastage the Leading Cause of Hunger in Indiaon September 6, 2019 at 2:05 am
Ahead of the World Food Day next month, on October 16, The Times of India analysed the relationship between our farm output and hunger. In 2015, India’s farm output exceeded 270 million tons ...
- Smithfield Foods Donates More Than 30,000 Pounds of Protein to Mid-Ohio Foodbank During September’s Hunger Action Monthon September 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm
“Hunger Action Month is an opportunity to bring ... About Smithfield Foods Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world's largest pork processor and hog producer.
- Bat for Lashes Finds Beauty in a Burning World on ‘Lost Girls’on September 5, 2019 at 3:18 am
And on the urgent “The Hunger,” she sings about taking a trip up to the sun ... On Lost Girls, she has come into her own. Her world is burning and she’s willing to go up in flames right along with it.
- 'Phenomenon' Mbappe will be the best in the world - Fabregason September 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm
But, it's his hunger to be the best that has the Spanish ... He's clearly going to be the best player in the world in the future," Fabregas said of the striker. "I always think like a midfielder ...
- Tennis’ hunger games continue for Roger Federer and Serena Williamson September 1, 2019 at 4:24 pm
They are those rare tennis players known to the world on a first-name basis. They drive the tennis ecosystem, from sponsorship to rules to revenue to popularity to events; to shaping perceptions of ...
- Hunger for concrete eats away at mountainson September 1, 2019 at 12:20 am
From Cyprus to New Zealand, Lebanon and beyond, environmentalists worry about the proliferation of quarries in a world ever more greedy for concrete. Between 40 billion and 50 billion tonnes a year of ...
via Google News and Bing News