Believe! Scientists are now turning CO₂ into edible protein!
A game changing development in the sustainable movement as scientists convert CO₂ into edible protein. The revolutionary process is turning heads in the scientific community.
In a groundbreaking development, researchers at Aarhus University have unveiled a revolutionary method to convert carbon dioxide (CO₂) into edible protein using specialized bioreactors. This breakthrough could have far-reaching implications for sustainable food production and environmental conservation.
The process developed by Aarhus University involves a three-stage bioreactor system. In the first stage, CO₂, hydrogen, and oxygen are sourced as raw materials. CO₂ is obtained from a biogas facility, while hydrogen and oxygen are generated on-site using renewable energy sources and electrolysis.
During the second stage, hydrogen and CO₂ are introduced into a microbial reactor populated with acetogens, unique bacteria that thrive in oxygen-free environments. These acetogens convert the hydrogen and CO₂ into acetic acid, similar to the vinegar used for descaling purposes. In the final stage, the acetic acid is extracted and transferred to another reactor containing yeast. With sufficient oxygen supply, the yeast transforms the acid into protein, which can then be processed into various food products, including tofu.
Meanwhile, Arkeon, a company founded in 2021, has developed its own bioreactor system that harnesses the power of ancient microbes known as archaea. These extremophile microbes, which naturally feed on CO₂ and produce essential amino acids for food production, have evolved to efficiently utilize nutrients in challenging environments such as the depths of volcanoes.
Arkeon's gas fermentation process enables these microbes to consume CO₂ in a salt solution while using hydrogen as an energy source. The resulting nutrients can be tailored for different applications, ranging from clean-label ingredients and alternative protein products to flavors, aromas, supplements, and cell culture media for cultivated meat.
Looking ahead, researchers at Aarhus University plan to test the efficiency of their process using a 200-liter bioreactor and explore the utilization of CO₂ from diverse sources such as power plants and factories. Their ultimate goal is to construct large-scale protein-producing facilities that can be seamlessly integrated with CO₂-emitting installations. This rapid deployment of technology holds tremendous potential for driving the green transition and fostering a sustainable future.
Arkeon, on the other hand, is scaling up its technology with a larger 150-liter reactor and aims to produce ingredients on a mass scale within five years. By doing so, Arkeon hopes to make sustainable food more accessible while also exploring additional applications for its unique microbial solutions.
The ability to convert CO₂ into edible proteins presents a game-changing solution for sustainable food production. This groundbreaking research by Aarhus University and the innovative work of Arkeon could pave the way for climate-friendly alternatives to conventional meat production, significantly reducing the environmental impact of agriculture and promoting a more sustainable food system. As these technologies continue to evolve, they hold the potential to revolutionize global food production and contribute to a healthier planet.