With electrolysis, a bioreactor can create a food powder containing protein, carbs and other nutrients

Since getting countries to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions has been a long struggle, scientists are looking to technology. Researchers in Finland at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) have figured out a way to use CO2 to create a cheap food source. The whole process is run on renewable energy and only requires a little bit of water and some nutrients.

In a bioreactor, electrolysis splits water from the air to create hydrogen. Then, nutrients like phosphorus and carbon dioxide are added, growing a small organism that utilizes hydrogen for energy and CO2 as the carbon source. What results is a powder that comprises of protein, carbohydrates and some extra nutrients. The plan is to potentially make this process accessible via a home appliance or a production facility.

“Compared to traditional agriculture, the production method currently under development does not require a location with the conditions for agriculture, such as the right temperature, humidity or a certain soil type… The method requires no pest-control substances. Only the required amount of fertiliser-like nutrients is used in the closed process. This allows us to avoid any environmental impacts, such as runoffs into water systems or the formation of powerful greenhouse gases,” Jero Ahola, a professor at LUT, said in a press release.

The research team believes that this powder can be used to combat world hunger, providing nutrition during famines or in areas where food is generally scarce. The project is part of a larger umbrella initiative, Neo-Carbon Energy, which focuses on creating a renewable energy system to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and fight climate change.

LUT | Neo-Carbon Energy

Since getting countries to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions has been a long struggle, scientists are looking to technology. Researchers in Finland at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) have figured out a way to use CO2 to create a cheap food source. The whole process is run on renewable energy and only requires a little bit of water and some nutrients.

In a bioreactor, electrolysis splits water from the air to create hydrogen. Then, nutrients like phosphorus and carbon dioxide are added, growing a small organism that utilizes hydrogen for energy and CO2 as the carbon source. What results is a powder that comprises of protein, carbohydrates and some extra nutrients. The plan is to potentially make this process accessible via a home appliance or a production facility.