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The Finnish company Solar Foods Oy produces an entirely new kind of nutrient-rich protein using only air and electricity. “Our goal is to develop the protein into a high-quality product whose environmental impact will be 10-100 times smaller than those of meat products or their substitutes currently in the market,” said Pasi Vainikka, the company’s incoming CEO, in a bulletin.
The goal of the company is to start commercial production of the environmentally revolutionary protein in 2020. “We are starting test production in Finland this year and are applying to the European Union for approval as a novel food whose testing will take a few years. At the same time, we will begin testing the manufacturing of consumer products with our partners,” said Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, the company founder and technology director.
Solar Foods’ concept redefines the basics of food production, as it isn’t dependent on agriculture, the weather, or the climate. The price of the protein product is also competitive compared to sources such as soy protein.
The company’s production method is based on the research projects of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) that proved the viability of the production concept for extremely protein-rich food. The results of these research projects have attracted a lot of international attention.
Solar Foods’ round of investment was led by Lifeline Ventures. The other investors were VTT Ventures Oy and Green Campus Innovations Oy. In addition to capital investment, the company was granted a development and piloting loan by Business Finland. In total, Solar Foods received a startup funding of two million euros.