The Helsinki-based foodtech company, which is developing proteins from carbon dioxide and electricity, is the first investment by the state-owned fund
Solein protein by Solar Foods. Photo as seen on the company website

The Finnish Climate Fund has decided on a €10 million capital loan for Solar Foods to build a new demonstration factory in Finland. The factory will be globally the first industrial-scale facility to produce protein from carbon dioxide and electricity. The new factory is set to be operational in early 2023.

The Finnish Climate Fund is a Finnish state-owned special-assignment company. Its operations focus on combating climate change, boosting low-carbon industry and promoting digitalisation.

Solar Foods was born in 2017, resulting from a joint research by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and LUT University. The company’s foodtech innovation enables low-emissions protein production utilising renewable energy.

“We are happy that we can soon put the Solein protein on the plates of consumers,” said Pasi  Vainikka, co-founder and chief executive of Solar Foods.

Solar Food’s first production facility will be located in Finland, and it will be the world’s first commercial facility to produce food by using carbon dioxide and electricity as its raw materials.

Dr Paisi Vainikka, co-founder and chief executive (left) and Dr Juha-Pekka Pitkänen, co-founder and chief technology officer (right)

“We want to disconnect food production from the accelerating consumption of natural resources,” explains Vainikka. “It is fascinating to be part of making this happen,” he added.

Vainikka reveals the company has detailed plans for the production facility, but details will be disclosed towards the end of the year when construction begins.

Paula Laine, chief executive of the Finnish Climate Fund, said: “The mission of the Climate Fund is to boost significant climate solutions into an industrial scale so that participate in supporting the carbon neutrality targets of the EU and Finland. By taking part in the investment, we’ll enable Solar Foods’ factory sooner and thus opening a faster path to emissions reductions.”

Solar Foods claims the emissions reduction potential for Solein is up to 99% compared to meat production, and 80% compared to plant-based proteins. As the annual global carbon dioxide emissions from food production are approximately 1 billion tons, Solar Foods’ innovation could at best bring an annual reduction potential of tens of millions of tonnes.

Date published: 8 April 2021

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