Lab-grown chicken nuggets will be here by the end of the year

“It was an out-of-body experience to sit there and eat a chicken, but have the chicken that you’re eating running around in front of you,” says the voiceover.

“But then you have this realisation that we’ve figured out how life really works, and that we don’t need to cause death in order to create food.”

That pretty much sums up JUST’s message.

I have written about “clean meat” before. When I did I got a record number of responses. Most of which were overwhelmingly in favour of lab-grown meat.

Well, now JUST claims it will have its lag-grown meat available to buy by the end of the year.

If you want to know how the process works there is a very well-produced four-minute video about it below.

(Click on the video to watch on YouTube)

The part where it really hits home is the scene where the team are all tucking into a bowl of chicken nuggets.

Text with the chicken’s name, Ian, and an arrow is superimposed over the top. Then the camera pans to the left to show Ian walking around the garden next to them, completely unharmed.

However, the video, although compelling, is short on facts, dates and prices. And so is JUST’s website. But it states it expects to have its JUST Meat products on the market by the end of the year.

If it hits this target and can produce clean meat at a reasonable price, it will change the world.

Water from thin air

The idea of filtering fresh water from the sea is as old as humanity.

But even today, with all our technology, it is incredibly difficult, inefficient and expensive to do on a large scale.

So if that doesn’t work, what about just making water out of thin air?

That’s what the company that just won this year’s $1.5 million XPrize has managed to do.

Its invention fits inside a shipping container and can produce enough water for 100 people every day.

Not only that, but it’s a carbon-negative technology. It takes more carbon out of the environment than it produces.

From Fast Company:

The new system, called WEDEW (“wood-to-energy deployed water”) was created by combining two existing systems. One is a device called Skywater, a large box that mimics the way clouds are formed: It takes in warm air, which hits cold air and forms droplets of condensation that can be used as pure drinking water. The water is stored in a tank inside the shipping container, which can then be connected to a bottle refill station or a tap.

Because the process uses a large amount of electricity, designers paired it with a biomass gassifier, a low-cost source of energy. When the gassifier is filled with wood chips, coconut shells, or whatever biomass is locally available, a process calls pyrolysis vaporizes that material. That makes the system hot and humid, the ideal environment to run the air-to-water machine. As it generates power, it also produces biochar, a charcoal that can be added to soil to store carbon and help plants grow.

“So that’s what we’re working on: How to 3D-print an entire rocket”

Those are the words of Tim Ellis, who is a co-founder of Relativity Space.

Relativity Space is a startup formed by former SpaceX and Blue Origin employees that aims to 3D-print its way to interplanetary colonisation.

“We feel like it’s inevitable that if humanity is going out to colonize other planets, 3D-printing is really the only way to manufacture things like tools and replacement parts,” said Ellis in an interview with Business Insider.

From Business Insider:

“Rockets built and flown in days instead of years,” boasts a slogan on Relativity Space’s website.

One of the company’s major test cases is its first rocket engine, called Aeon.

Each Aeon engine starts out as high-temperature nickel alloy in powdered form.

Over the course of days, lasers sinter the powder into shapes that’d otherwise be difficult if not impossible to create using molds. The consistency and strength of the finished product is also easier to control.

Out of these industrial printers comes a single part. Building a similar structure with more traditional methods might require hundreds of parts welded together, along with countless bolts, nuts, and other fasteners, and months of effort.

“No one has really innovated on the fundamental manufacturing problems that the aerospace has dealt with over the past 50 years,” Ellis said.

“They’ve all had a huge amount of hands-on labor and very complex supply chains. 3D printing … removes complex tooling, it’s very fast, and it reduces the labor required to make each product,” he added.

The company believes it can make building and maintaining spacecraft much simpler and much cheaper by 3D-printing 95% of it.

And if you think about it, that makes complete sense. Especially if you’re planning to travel into deep space.

Relativity Space’s idea to colonise Mars is to travel there on one ship and 3D-print another, while on Mars to return to Earth on.

If Ellis’ super-strong 3D-printing technology really can produce rocket engines in a matter of days, it is also going to revolutionise a great many other industries, too.

He’s right when he says, “no one has really innovated on the fundamental manufacturing problems that the aerospace has dealt with over the past 50 years.”

Imagine what this technology could do for cars and aircraft engines.

As I’ve written before, we’re currently in the midst of a new space race. And just like the last one, we will benefit from a flurry of new technology developed by these cutting-edge companies.

Up until now 3D-printing was yet another promising technology that never really went anywhere. It looks like all that is now about to change.

Until next time,

Harry Hamburg
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Genetics and Biotechnology

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