When you think about the amount of energy it takes to produce our food you could say we are actually just eating petroleum. Intensive agriculture requires a lot of fossil fuels especially when you include the packaging and shipping. I know that we actually eat the corn, wheat, apples, or blueberries, or stuff made from them, but you can’t have any of that without oil and gas.
The gas is methane. It is the cheapest and most abundant fuel source. And it burns the cleanest. The US, because of fracking, has so much natural gas (methane) that it just burns it (flaring) instead of processing and shipping it.
Now a company wants to make food from methane. They are called Calysta and they have backing from no less than BP, one of the world’s energy giants. This food is not for human consumption, at least not directly. The stuff, called FeedKind, is for aquaculture (fish farms) and other livestock. They even imagine it going to pets! These days pets get top-of-the-line stuff, no more Alpo and table scraps, so I’m not sure that will fly. Maybe pet owners on a budget.
These guys use bacteria to ferment a mixture of gases—the methane of course, along with oxygen and nitrogen—which produces a goop that they dry and make into pellets. Most people find that repulsive, but I think it is fascinating. Think of the benefit: production of edible protein without using farmland!
It takes a lot of energy to do this, but it takes a lot of energy to produce your morning cup of coffee. Some time in the future, when only rich people will be able to eat wild-caught salmon, the rest of us will be grubbing down on fat fillets from tank-raised gas-fed GMO beasts.