Do you think you will love a “solar food” ? In fact, it is named “Solein”, a protein made by a Finish Helsinki-based company from electricity, water and air, based on a concept by NASA.
They plan to have 50m meals’ worth of this product sold in supermarkets within two years. Solar Foods assisted by research from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Lappeenranta University of Technology will apply to the EU for a novel food licence later this year before starting commercial production in 2021. The powder protein is produced through a process similar to brewing beer. Living microbes are put in liquid and fed with carbon dioxide and hydrogen bubbles, which have been released from water through the application of electricity. The microbes create protein, which is then dried to make the powder which can be given texture through 3D printing (resembling meat or bread), or added to dishes and food products as an ingredient.
“It is a completely new kind of food, a new kind of protein, different to all the food on the market today in how it is produced as it does not need agriculture or aquaculture,” Dr Pasi Vainikka, the chief executive of the Solar Foods, said. The technology is a carbon-neutral way to produce a fully natural protein source without wasting land or water, the world’s most environmentally friendly protein. „Solein is an unlimited protein source that is free from agricultural limitations and the boundaries of imagination,” the company says. It is 100 times more climate-friendly than any animal or plant-based alternative. It can be a hope for the future. Actually, one quarter of the world’s carbon footprint is due to food production.