This Little Lab-Grown Piggy Went to Market: Clean Meat Is on the Rise
By Andrew Amelinckx
Lab-grown meat goes by many names—clean meat, cultured protein, animal-free meat, and so on—and all the various producers, of which there are eight around the world, use the same basic premise. At its most elementary, the process involves taking stem cells from a living animal, say, a chicken, then feeding those cells various nutrients until enough tissue is produced for the desired outcome: a burger, fried chicken or duck a l'orange.
According to boosters of this technology, there are fewer environmental problems with clean meat than the traditional method of raising and slaughtering animals. Producing meat without actually growing and feeding an animal requires fewer resources—a tenth of the land and water, and less than half of the energy conventional meat needs, according to Uma Valeti, the CEO of Memphis Meats, whom Modern Farmer interviewed earlier this year.
This seems to be China's main reason for their interest. The Chinese government has been steadily trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the face of a growing middle class that's consuming more meat. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, about 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gasses comes from the livestock sector. Among China's efforts was a recent move to implement more sustainable agricultural practices, like organic growing methods.
"The Chinese market for meat is still growing while fighting climate change, pollution and food safety issues are high on the agenda of the Chinese leadership," Peter Verstrate, CEO of the Dutch company Mosa Meat, told Modern Farmer. "There's no better way to combine the two than by developing and scaling clean meat."
Mosa Meat was born in the lab of Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, where the first clean hamburger (their nomenclature of choice? "tissue-cultured" meat) debuted in 2013. Verstrate's company wouldn't see any direct advantages from the China-Israel deal nonetheless sees it as a positive. The Chinese investment in clean tech, including clean meat, is "even more validation of the fact that this is a field worth exploring and developing," he says.
The biggest winners from the deal will likely be the three Israeli clean meat companies, SuperMeat, Meat the Future, and Future Meat Technologies, since it would allow them to break into the potentially lucrative Chinese market. Shir Friedman, co-founder and CCO of SuperMeat said the company's "very excited to see the global and mutual interest in clean technology."
Bruce Friedrich, head of the The Good Food Institute, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that lobbies on behalf of the alternative meat industry, called China's interest in clean meat "a colossal market opportunity" for everyone involved in the burgeoning field. "This could put [lab-grown] meat onto the radar of Chinese officials who have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology," Friedrich recently told Quartz.
China isn't alone in their interest in clean meat. Billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson, and the agricultural giant Cargill, have all this year invested in the Bay Area startup Memphis Meats as part of their $17 million Series A funding round. "Something similar might happen in Europe too," said Verstrate.
All these clean meat startups, which are mostly based in Silicon Valley and Israel, are vying to be the first to get their products to market, whether it be beef, chicken, pork or duck. (Some, like Memphis Meats, have done prototypes, but there's not yet a product you can buy at your local grocery store.)
The problem is how to scale in a way that gets lab-grown meat to a reasonable price point, and production costs are coming down quickly. Back in 2013, it cost a whopping $330,000 to produce the first patty-sized hunk of lab-grown beef. At the time, Post said he believed lab-grown meat wouldn't be in grocery stores for another 10 to 20 years. But now, the price of producing that size burger is already down to $11.36. Quite a difference.
"The biggest impediment in moving clean meat forward is mass production and scale," says SuperMeat's Friedman, whose company hopes to reach the market in about five years.
Four to five years seems to be the general goal to get lab-meat on retail shelves, although Mosa Meat is aiming for a "small scale and premium market introduction" in two to three years, according to Verstrate. From there they would "continue to improve and scale the product" and be ready for a full rollout "a few years" later.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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