How much energy do Precision Fermentation and Cellular Agriculture require?

 |  6 May 2024

Available data is limited, but we plan to publish an estimate soon.

Bioreactors consume a substantial amount of energy to create and maintain the optimal environmental conditions for Precision Fermentation (PF) and Cellular Agriculture (CA) production.

HVAC systems consume energy to moderate the difference in temperature between the inside and outside of the facility. The larger this difference the greater the energy required.

Downstream processes turn the fermentation and cell proliferation outputs into useful products using electricity and sometimes natural gas to power large, specialized machinery.

The energy requirements of PF and CA therefore vary significantly according to climate and geographic location, which cells and microorganisms are utilized, which types of downstream processing are undertaken, and whether or not a facility produces finished products.

Explore the evidence...

  • There will be an increase in the amount of electricity used in the new food system as the production facilities that underpin it rely on electricity to operate. This will, however, be offset by reductions in energy use elsewhere along the value chain. Read more about the energy implications of the modern food disruption on p49 of our Rethinking Food & Agriculture report under 'Impact on Associated Economic Sectors'
  • Foods made using modern food production processes like PF are far more resource efficient than the industrial modes of production. For example, PF proteins are up to 100 times more energy efficient than the cow. Learn more about this from RethinkX co-founder Tony Seba.
  • Modern foods will be about 10 times more efficient than a cow at converting feed into end products because a cow needs energy via feed to maintain and build its body over time.
    • Less feed consumed means less land required to grow it, which means less water is used and less waste is produced. The savings are dramatic–these technologies use up to 25 times less feedstock, 10 times less water, five times less energy and 100 times less land.
    • Learn more about the production costs of PF on p20 of our report.

Witness the transformation

We are on the cusp of the deepest, fastest, most consequential disruption in food and agricultural production since the first domestication of plants and animals 10,000 years ago.

Modern alternatives to our industrial livestock model will be up to 100 times more land efficient, 10-25 times more feedstock efficient, 20 times more time efficient and 10 times more water efficient. They will also produce less waste.

Learn more about the disruption of food & agriculture.

Published on: 12/07/23

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