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This startup makes a meat alternative out of thin air

While companies like Beyond Meat (BYND) and Impossible Foods are leading the faux meat trend, the next iteration of fake meat could be made out of thin air.

California-based Air Protein says its the first to create a vegan, meat substitute from natural elements found in the air. Using an approach first proposed by NASA to grow food for astronauts, the ‘meat’ is made using renewable energy to transform carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen into proteins rich in vitamins, and minerals.

It’s a process that Air Protein CEO Lisa Dyson says is like brewing beer or making yogurt.

“So you start with elements of the air that we breathe — carbon dioxide and oxygen — and other things,” Dyson said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s On The Move. “We're able to feed these to microbes... we have renewable power involved. Microbes that are able to grow these into protein flour as the result.”

Air Protein

Unlike real meat and other meat alternatives, ‘Air Protein’ can be produced in hours rather than months and requires very little land and is unimpeded by weather or the seasons. Being free from those constraints is a fact that Dyson says puts the company ahead of the competition.

”We can deploy this rain or shine, day or night, in any geography,” she says. “And if we go back to comparing that to the alternatives — either animal-based protein or plant-based protein, if you look at soy, you would actually need a soy farm the size of Texas in order to produce the same amount of protein that you'd get with an air protein.

So it's significantly less land utilization. And that's one of the reasons why we're very excited about this,” says Dyson.

Bridgette Webb is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter 

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