We envision the future of protein production will be growing microalgae in bioreactors to save space, energy and freshwater.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
We are funded by Temasek Foundation, Enterprise Singapore, and some local investors. We won our first grant money for this project here, https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/sophies-kitchen-wins-1-million-liveability-challenge-with-food-grade-protein-using?xtor=CS3-18&utm_source=STiPhone&utm_medium=share&utm_term=2019-06-08+20%3A06%3A14&fbclid=IwAR0oW8Iivqs2hrCqHyPaeOVa8gIxThrV_abZOPkZPAfesN6lp1SpdgQOfBk
We also want to prove that this technology can work in a city state where all the major resources to grow food are lacking. These include space, energy, and freshwater. If we can prove that we can produce significant amount of protein in Singapore using this technology, we can prove the world this is really the future of food production.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Singapore has a food challenge. It wants to be able to grow and supply at least 30% the food it consumes by the year 2030 (30 by 30 challenge). This may sound like nothing to most other countries. But to Singapore, a city state with area less than 280 square miles and housing close to 6 million people, growing foods is a HUGE challenge. Not only it does not have enough farmland, but it also does not have any steady freshwater supply. On top of that, most of its 6 million population is urbanized and aging. Vertical farming sounds like an interesting option. But it still requires certain amount of energy and labor. Therefore, Singapore needs a better solution. A solution that can help it “grow” its own foods without using too much water, land, and energy. We believe the technology we are developing is exactly what Singapore needs. Using our technology, we can grow 10 ton of plant meat with less than 0.02 hectare of land in less than a week. 90% of the water used in the system can be recycled. What’s more, no herbicide, fertilizer, antibiotic or growth hormone is needed in the process, truly healthy to the environment and the human bodies.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
By 2050, as technologies develop, urbanization will be prevalent in most places. As urbanization grows, greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise. Population will be even older than today. Deforestation will also increase. Land suitable for both animal farming and agriculture will be reduced. Fresh water will be scarce. By that time, using agriculture and animal farming as the mains source of growing food grade protein will be a huge challenge. Food prices will go up significantly if there is no alternative. Wars and conflicts will be frequent due to lack of foods.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Using our technologies with bioreactors, we reduce the needs of farmland. What's even better is that we can house the whole system inside a building. And since some species of microalgae are marine, we can switch to seawater to grow our protein. Freshwater is saved. And since the system is setup within the city, transportation is reduced to cut down the greenhouse gas emissions. More importantly, the whole system can be easily automated and managed through IOT, labor is reduced substantially as well.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
With our new technologies in place, people in the year 2050 can still get enough foods and nutrients at an affordable rate. The abundance of foods will mean that war and conflicts can be prevented. And the freshwater can be diverted to something more important. People can still choose to pay for more for conventional crops and animal meat. But if money is a concern, the foods and nutrients made with our technology will be a healthy and viable solution.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Environment - Is saved using our technology due to low pollution and low energy usage.
Diets – Are improved because microalgae can provide complete nutrients needed by human beings
Economics – As more mega cities showing up in the world, the labor for framing will no doubt be severely impacted. With this technology, we can remove some of the pressure and use a lot less labor to produce foods. People in the future can then be free to focus on other things which have higher economical value.
Culture – Since we are producing very basic food ingredients (protein flour), we can give people the freedom of preparing their traditional foods with our ingredients. Culture can be preserved even with the advancement of this new technology.
Technology – Our technology potentially can be used to make everything from protein, starch, cooking oil, and all the way to most micronutrients like Vitamins and DHA. The technological implications are profound.
Policy – Our technologies can be easily monitored due to reduced space and time. The policy makers can easily come up with their own preferred rules to regulate these productions.