Researchers at Finland's Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and research lab VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a process for making an edible protein-rich powder using electricity.
Created as part of the Food From Electricity project, the synthetic food is made using water, carbon and microbes, which are exposed to electrolysis in a bioreactor. The process forms a powder that is 50% protein, 25% carbohydrates and 25% fats and nucleic acids – the texture of which can be altered by adjusting the types of microbes used.
Currently, it takes approximately two weeks to produce one gram of powder in a bioreactor the size of a coffee cup. According to principle scientists at VTT, the process will be commercially viable in the next 10 years.
The powder is being developed with the intention of combatting world hunger, as the process can be carried out using minimal resources in areas not suitable for agricultural development. Additionally, using this system to produce food would reduce the environmental impact of livestock and crop farming – see Reframing Rare and Culinary Provocateurs for more.