Growing Food Out of Thin Air

Globally, farmland is becoming more scarce. That's why this tech company has turned to growing food out of thin air.

The most environmentally friendly food on the planet

How do we combat food scarcity and shrinking lands used for for agricultural? The answer: Growing food out of thin air. Solar Foods has created Solein — a protein powder synthesized from carbon dioxide water renewable electricity in a natural fermentation process. 1 kilogram of Solein only requires 10 liters of water to produce — compared to beef’s 7500 liters per kilo, and it yields 10x more usable protein per acre than soy. Up to ⅓ of the Greenhouse gas emissions from humans is related to land use for food based on a report from the IPCC.

“Currently we use 50 percent of the habitable land for producing food on the planet. If we need to produce 70 percent more meat of the century that cannot happen from that piece of land. we need a fundamentally more efficient food system and disconnection from agriculture is the solution. One quarter of the greenhouse gas footprint do human action is due to what we eat and not has to do with energy direct at all. If you're allowed to have air and electricity carbon dioxide it's just that can you actually turn that to edible calories. And it turns out that there is a way to do it. We don't assume people to eat protein pills or powders only in the future but there are three categories that we want to kind of underscore. One is existing food, so whether it's breads, pastas between meals, drinks, plant based, dairy, you name it. The second category is emerging, which is the plant-based meat alternatives. In the future if we want to produce cultured meat, so real meat cells without animal, when these cells are produced actually these cells eat amino acids when they grow. And we could provide this amino acid cocktail for them to grow so we can actually be in a diverse way part of the menu of the Future Foods,” Pasi Vainikka CEO of Solar Foods tells Brut.

Solein is set to hit the market in 2021. Vainikka hopes that product isn’t just seen as land use efficient, but as something with the potential to replace all protein in people’s diets.