Can Electricity Solve World Hunger?

Our food world is moving rapidly, and we must do all we can to support and create a better food supply.

September 11, 2017

Finnish researchers have created a batch of single-cell protein that is nutritious enough to serve for dinner using a system powered by renewable energy according to Futurism.com. The entire process requires only electricity, water, carbon dioxide, and microbes. The synthetic food was created as part of the Food From Electricity project, which is a collaboration between Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. 

The process forms a powder that consists of more than 50 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrates. 

Sounds great, but there is one small problem - currently, a bioreactor the size of a coffee cup takes around two weeks to produce one gram of the protein. The researchers predict it’ll take about 10 years for the process to reach commercial capacity. 

Which is sad since the potential impact of food produced using electricity and other widely available raw materials is enormous. Currently, there are two main ways that it could be used. 

Clearly this could be a means of feeding starving people and providing a source of food in areas that are not suited to agricultural production and it works independently of environmental factors, topline is it could feed people consistently — Jero Ahola, a Professor at LUT, said that it “does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type.” 

Second, as a means of decreasing global emissions by reducing the demand for food livestock and the crops necessary to feed them. 

Our food world is moving rapidly, and we must do all we can to support and create a better food supply. Then we all win.

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