Agronomics, the leading listing company in cellular agriculture, is delighted to share that its Finnish portfolio company Solar Foods Oy, “Solar Foods”, focused on commercialising its Solein protein made from air, has received a €34 million grant to support the build of its first fermentation facility and start preparations for their full-scale facility.
Agronomics has invested a total of € 6 million to date and owns approximately 5.80% of Solar Foods, subject to conversion of the outstanding CLN.
Business Finland has approved a €34 million grant funding to Solar Foods. To date, this is the single largest public grant funding for cellular agriculture worldwide. The grant is the first batch of funding for Solar Foods due to the recent IPCEI notification.
In September 2022, Solar Foods was selected to be a part of the European Commission’s strategic hydrogen economy core. Solar Foods’ €600 million investment programme, which also includes the future Factory 02, was notified as a hydrogen IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) project with a maximum state aid of €110 million.
In alignment with the R&D phase plan of the IPCEI notification, Solar Foods will use the grant to ramp up its hydrogen fermentation facility, Factory 01, and enter the engineering phase with the following Factory 02.
The ‘hydrogen IPCEI’ initiative is about research, innovation, and first industrial deployment (FID) of relevant infrastructure in the European hydrogen value chain. The grant decision announced today supports the first phase of the IPCEI project roadmap where the engineering, construction and ramp-up of Solar Foods Factory 01 is a central piece.
“With Christmas on the doorstep, we will see social media full of unboxing videos. For us, this grant is not a Christmas present but the result of one and a half years of negotiation and the hard work done by the people behind the Finnish innovation system”, Pasi Vainikka, CEO and co-founder of Solar Foods says.
“The grant demonstrates how Finland’s innovation system is ready to think outside the box and wants to support the commercialisation of scientific discoveries emerging from the intersections of scientific disciplines. We do not really fit into any single traditional research and innovation category: we do clean-tech, food-tech, hydrogen technology and on a systemic level support the restoration of natural ecosystems.”
Solar Foods’ Factory 01 has reached its full roof height at Vantaa, Finland, and process installations are set to begin on Q1/2023. Factory 01 is aimed to be fully operational in Q1/2024. The data and operational experiences from the factory are applied in finalising the engineering for Factory 02.
Solein is produced using a bioprocess where microbes are fed with gases (carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and oxygen) and small amounts of nutrients. The bioprocess resembles winemaking, with carbon dioxide and hydrogen replacing sugar as the source of carbon and energy, respectively.