Solar Foods to develop protein for Mars journey
Finnish company Solar Foods is teaming with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Business Incubation Programme on food production for the colonisation of Mars.
Solar Foods has been able to grow protein in the testing phase using only air, water, electricity and a small amount of trace elements. The revolutionary method attracted two million euros in funding earlier this year.
The Finnish company has now been selected for the ESA Business Incubation Programme to develop a system for producing protein in space conditions for flights to Mars and on the planet itself.
“The conditions in Mars colonies are very different from those on Earth, but they have sunshine, and there are huge amounts of carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere,” Kimmo Isbjörnssund, manager at ESA Business Incubation Centre Finland, says in a press release. “The pioneering technology of Solar Foods enables a new way of producing food even in closed spaces. We assume that ingredients available at the Mars base can be used with the new technology.”
The method is based on research conducted by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Lappeenranta University of Technology, and Solar Foods aims to start commercialising it in 2021.
“The method of Solar Foods for producing protein arose from a desire to produce food in a more environmentally friendly way, without using land,” explains Pasi Vainikka, CEO of Solar Foods. “The concept is not dependent on agriculture, weather or climate; instead, it makes possible efficient and low-cost food production with solar energy anywhere, whether in a desert or in space.”