Solar Foods, which literally makes protein out of air, announced today that it has received €10 million (~$11.98 million USD) in funding from the The Finnish Climate Fund. The subordinated load will go towards revving up commercial-scale production of the company’s product, Solein. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Solar Foods to €35 million (~$41.6 million USD).
Based in Finland, Solar Foods uses a combination of captured carbon dioxide, bacteria and electricity to create Solein, which can make multiple food items including alternative proteins. A big promise of Solein’s is its narrower impact on the planet than traditional animal agriculture or even plant-based protein. It doesn’t require land or water, and is not dependent on weather. According to today’s press announcement, Solar Foods said that Solein creates roughly one percent of the greenhouse gas emissions of meat protein and 20 percent of those from plant protein production.
The technology was borne out of research from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and LUT University of Finland. Solein is now in the commercialization stage, and the new funding will be used to build a pilot production facility. The new facility will include a food bar and is scheduled to start operations in early 2023.
The nothingness of air is really turning into something in the alternative protein space. In addition to Solar Foods, the aptly named Air Protein does much the same thing and recently raised $32 million. Deep Branch calls itself a carbon dioxide recycling company because it turns CO2 into protein for animal feed, and recently raised nearly $10 million. And Swedish researchers at RISE have developed technology to turn air into fat.
For more on this nascent science and protein sector, check out our The Spoon Plus Insider Guide to Air Protein.