A saying goes that it is not possible to live only by air and love. The Finnish company Solar Foods At least it wants to refute the first part of this saying: It has developed a food that "out of thin air", made of air.
Solein is the name given to the protein powder produced from renewable sources, including carbon dioxide, the gas whose increasing concentration in the atmosphere contributes to global warming. It is separated from the air for the production of soline.
Other ingredients include hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria, some water, nitrogen, some minerals and solar power. With the help of solar power, the water is split. With the hydrogen, the bacteria are fed. They produce soline in a fermentation process, a flour that looks and tastes like wheat flour.
Solein consists of over 50 percent protein. 20 to 25 percent are carbohydrate. In addition, the food still contains 5 to 10 percent fat. Solar Foods wants to supplement it with many foods, protein shakes or yogurt, for example.
According to Solar Foods, the idea for Solein comes from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Agency and has been further developed by Finnish researchers. The European Space Agency (ESA) supports the startup.
The advantage of Solein is that the production "free from agriculture" be, Solar Foods writes on the website, "It requires neither farmland nor irrigation and is not dependent on climatic conditions."
The Finnish company is not the only one involved in the development of foods that have never come anywhere near an arable or pasture. The US company Rosa Labs, for example, developed the liquid food Soylent a few years ago to replace solid meals. It is an odorless, viscous, beige drink that contains all the essential nutrients your body needs.
Others like the Dutchman Mark Post or the US company Modern Meadow want to produce meat synthetically. This should be more environmentally friendly and ethical than factory farming.
Solar Foods wants Solein this year as so-called Novel food in the European Union. In 2021, the food should come on the market.