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Finnish Researchers Created Protein Out of Carbon Dioxide and Electricity

Researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland were able to create a single-cell protein using electricity and carbon dioxide alone.

Unlike traditional food production method that is heavily reliant on a variety of environmental factors, this discovery will provide more latitude as it allows the production of food (protein) in any location for as long as any source of renewable energy is available.

Principal scientist at VTT Juha-Pella Pitkänen told Phys.Org that: “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.”

The team of Finnish researchers is also working on the development of a protein that can be used as fodder or animal feed substitute. If this method becomes successful vast lands used to produce hay and animal food can soon be utilized for other purposes such as forestry. Ultimately, it will allow food production regardless of location.

“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 automatized process to produce the animal feed required in a shipping container facility built on a farm,” shared LUT Professor Jero Ahola.

The carbon dioxide and electricity food production method does not require pesticides as well making it much friendlier to the environment.

“The method requires no pest-control substances. Only the required amount of fertilizer-like nutrient is used in the closed process. This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into the water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases,” Prof. Ahola added.

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