The new recipe to combat hunger globally is this, electricity, water, carbon dioxide and microbes. Created by Finnish researchers, the new formula brings economic as well as environmental advantages.
The project called Food From Electricity, recently received a new contribution that may revolutionize the way we see food production. This is because, now, there has been a team of Finnish researchers who have already managed to produce protein from electricity. This study resulted from the partnership between the Lapeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland.
This protein can be produced anywhere, provided there is renewable energy such as, for example, solar energy. This is an early stage of research, but it can pave the way for a future solution for feeding people in poor countries. This same technique may also apply in the livestock industry.
Thus, in practice, all raw materials are available in the air, in the future, the technology can be transported, for example, to deserts among other areas that are heavily affected by hunger. Another possible alternative is “to use a domestic reactor that allows the consumer to produce the necessary protein”, said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, a VTT researcher.
In this way, water, electricity, carbon dioxide and microbes are necessary for the process to take place. After exposing these raw materials to electrolysis – decomposition technique by means of electric current – in a bioreactor, a powder is formed consisting of more than 50% protein and about 25% carbohydrates.
In comparison to traditional agriculture, “the method does not require a certain temperature, humidity, pest control or a specific type of soil”, says Jero Ahola of LUT.
The next step, according to researcher Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, is to optimize the system, since the bioreactor takes about two weeks to produce only one gram of protein.
“We are currently focusing on the development of technology: reactor concepts, improved efficiency and process control”, he explained.
Thus, this innovation could reduce global emissions of polluting gases by reducing the demand for animal feed, while also helping to combat the unsustainable agriculture that is practiced to feed both the human and animal populations, since the method Provides a cheaper and renewable alternative.