Solar Foods, a Finnish company, will electrolyze water to produce hydrogen that is used to feed microbes.
These microbial cells, with a protein content of up to 60% and an amino acid composition similar to soybeans or algae, are then heat-treated to form a fine powder, similar in appearance and texture to dried milk.
Solar Foods says the product could be used to enrich widely consumed human foods such as bread or pasta.
Using hydrogen for food manufacturing would be more financially attractive than using the gas for energy storage, because a factory plant’s electricity supply would mainly be used to create hydrogen as a feedstock for bacterial growth and the industrial process would be able to tolerate daily variations in energy.
Solar Foods is not claiming its products could replace foods altogether; however, Pasi Vainikka, CEO of Solar Foods, said, “There is a portfolio of these organisms, so you could have mixtures in the future.”