Researchers in Finland have successfully created a batch of single-cell protein by combining electricity and carbon dioxide, a revolutionary new development that can be used in food and animal feed applications.
A new protein production technique developed by Finnish scientists makes it possible to generate the essential nutrient anywhere renewable energy is available.
The work is a joint project of the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.
The power to transform agriculture The team estimates that energy from the sun can be used up to ten times more efficiently than it is at present.
"In practice, all the raw materials are available from the air. In the future, the technology can be transported to 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." The researchers are also developing the protein to be used as animal feed.
Production of one gram of protein now takes around two weeks.
"The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common," says Jero Ahola, professor at the Lappeenranta University of Technology .
Pitkänen says the goal is a container-sized facility than can produce five kilos of single-celled protein in a day.
The study is part of the wide-ranging Neo-Carbon Energy research project in Finland that aims to develop a completely renewable and emission-free energy system.
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