Currently in its nascent stage, researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) have created a protein powder which can consumed by people and animals. The reactor is of the size of a coffee machine and currently can only produce a spoonful of the powder in a fortnight.
This was the result of the Food For Electricity study funded by the Academy of Finland whose sole purpose was to alleviate the world hunger. “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.” says Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, a scientist at VTT to Independent.
He also added that in the future there can be home reactors just like any other home appliance that can create the protein powder. Also, the researchers added that creating food using electricity is ten times energy-efficient than photosynthesis. “In the long term, protein created with electricity is meant to be used in cooking and products as it is.” says Pitkänen.
The mixture is made up of 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates and the rest consists of fats and nucleic acids making it very nutritious. Also, if the electricity is used from renewable sources, the reactor will cause no harm to the environment. Currently the scientists are trying to make the technology efficient and faster. “The idea is to develop the concept into a mass product, with a price that drops as the technology becomes more common. The schedule for commercialisation depends on the economy,” said Professor Jero Ahola of the LUT to Independent.