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 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.”