Creating Meat From Air is Becoming a Reality

Using space technology to produce proteins that mimic the taste, texture, and look of meat.

Creating Meat From Air is Becoming a Reality | Using space technology to produce proteins that mimic the taste, texture, and look of meat.

A start-up based in California is well on its way to doing what seems like magic: creating meat from thin air. Yes, you read that right, Air Protein has created non-animal based meat and seafood using nothing but microbes, water, and elements found in the air. 

From NASA to meat
According to CNN the idea of making food from air first came from NASA in the 1960s. Researchers were looking for a way to recycle the CO2 that astronauts breathe out while on a mission to Mars, and realized they could use it to create edible material .But NASA soon discarded the idea and moved on to other plans. 

In 2019, Air Protein founder Dr. Lisa Dyson, a physicist and entrepreneur picked up where NASA left off. “We are leveraging those initial concepts NASA had and picking them up off the shelf,” Dyson told CNN.

So how does it work? Dezeen reports that the process is actually a lot like fermenting yogurt, or cheese. The NASA researchers found that certain microbes could convert carbon dioxide into a protein when mixed with water and energy and this is the technology that Air Protein uses. 

Once the protein is extracted from air, the company then purifies it into a powder that is used to create solid proteins that mimic the taste, texture, and look of animal proteins.The startup’s main focus is the meat industry but this space technology can also be used for seafood and cheese, 

The environmental cost of the food industry
It was witnessing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that led Dyson to begin thinking seriously about climate change and what she could do to mitigate its effect, CNN reported. 

“Just seeing the devastation of that event and thinking about how climate scientists have been warning us that these weather events are going to become more frequent and more intense – I wanted to be a part of the solution,” she told CNN.

Dyson  began to take an interest in the food industry because of the large amount of greenhouse gasses it produces. It is the meat industry in specific that is responsible for the most emissions, according to Wired. Yet meat consumption is still growing all over the world, and indeed the world population is growing, with estimates of a population of 10 billion people by 2050. 

Air Protein’s solution could help mitigate that because the process of making the meat uses carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere and is a carbon negative. The energy the startup uses is all renewable wind and solar power.

Making meat from air uses 1.5 million times less land that the beef industry does and uses 15,000 times less water. These are both resources that are desperately needed to fight climate change. 

“We need to produce food in a way that isn’t suffocating the planet,” Dyson told CNN.. “We don’t have a choice. I think there’s a bright future when we bring innovation to the equation and change how our food is made.”

Startup is Growing Lab Made Meat in Space
Now Plant-Based Steaks can Come from a 3D Printer
5 Ways to Feed a Growing World Population Sustainably