The Finnish start-up Solar Foods turns CO2 into food – or more precisely, protein from carbon dioxide. So far, however, the meat alternative has only been authorised in Singapore – which is set to change soon.

Pasi Vainikka, founder of the greentech start-up Solar Foods, extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce protein powder, which is then used to make foods such as ice cream, bread, spaghetti and tofu.
Vainikka is therefore taking a rather unusual approach to its meat alternatives. Other food tech start-ups take a plant-based approach, usually cultivating mushrooms. At Solar Foods, on the other hand, it is the CO2 that makes the bacteria grow in a bioreactor.


The greenhouse gas is filtered out of the air and fed into a tank in which bacteria multiply with nitrogen and hydrogen. “We constantly feed the bacteria slowly with the gases,” says Vainikka.

The microorganisms are then fermented with phosphorus and calcium.