Vertical farms are popping up everywhere from Pennsylvania to Dubai, most of them growing some sort of leafy green (and one growing mushroom fungus!). A farm in Iceland has taken a different direction, both in terms of what it grows and how it’s growing it. Vaxa Technologies is cultivating spirulina algae indoors, and a new study found that its process is carbon-neutral and emissions-free.
Maybe, like me, you’ve heard of spirulina and vaguely know it’s good for you, but aren’t quite sure what it is or where it comes from. It’s a blue-green algae that grows naturally in oceans and salty lakes. Its name comes from its shape: it grows in microscopic spirals that stick together, making it easy to harvest. Its taste is milder and less fishy than other types of algae, and it contains nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, as well as amino acids and protein.
Vaxa is using its spirulina to make products for people as well as products for fish. On the people side, they’re making nutrient supplements, natural colorants, and protein drop-ins for meat substitutes. For fish, the company is partnering with hatcheries to provide a year-round supply of microalgae that it claims will increase yields.