Scientists Create Food From Electricity – Will It Fight World Hunger?

Single-cell protein has been produced by using electricity and carbon dioxide

Credit: Lappeenranta University of Technology

Food can now be created from carbon dioxide, electricity, and microbes according to a team of Finnish scientists. The single-cell protein meal has opened pathways to being a new food in the future. The ‘Food from Electricity’ study, funded by the Academy of Finland is a part of a project called Neo-Carbon Energy. The study is reportedly aimed to develop an energy system that is completely renewable and emission-free and would alleviate world hunger.

A protein powder has been successfully created using carbon dioxide taken from the air by the researchers from the VIT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT). This powder could reportedly be used to feed people and animals.

The coffee-machine sized ‘protein reactor’ could be used anywhere which has access to electricity. Even though the technology is in its infancy, it is expected to become a household item.

Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, a scientist at VTT, said that all the raw materials were available in the air, and in future, the technology could be transported to deserts and other areas, which faced famine.

Pitkänen also said that the consistency of the final product could be modified by changing the organisms used in the production. He added that the mixture was nutritious with over 50% protein and 25% carbohydrates, and rest was fats and nucleic acids.

Meanwhile, the scientists have reiterated that the reactor could produce food with no environmental impact if the electricity came from renewable sources. And, Professor Jero Ahola of the LUT said that only fertiliser-like nutrients were used in the process thus steering clear from any environmental impacts.

The technology reportedly still needs to be more efficient, before cattle or humans could be fed with the protein.

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