Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Given the record high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, might it make sense to find a way to use the greenhouse gas for the greater good? Fast Company reports that a company based in Finland is working to do just that. Using electricity and CO2, Solar Foods has developed a process to manufacture a powder that’s “roughly 20-25% carbs, 5-10% fat, and 50% protein.”
It’s a far more efficient way to produce protein than raising cattle. Producing a single burger, by one estimate, requires 64.5 square feet of land, mostly for cattle feed. Grazing cattle and growing grains to feed them are both leading causes of deforestation in places like the Amazon. Another study estimates that producing a burger uses as much as 660 gallons of water. Meat is also a major source of CO2 emissions. The new protein powder, called Solein, claims to be 100 times more climate-friendly than any animal or even plant-based alternative. It can yield 10 times more usable protein per acre than soy production, the company says.
Solar Foods plans to apply for a food license from the EU later this year and to begin commercial production in 2021.