“Imports by airplane have a substantial impact on global warming pollution. In 2005, the import of fruits, nuts, and vegetables into California by airplane released more than 70,000 tons of CO2, which is equivalent to more than 12,000 cars on the road.” according to Food Hub. Rather than reducing the impacts of food transportation, with 3-D printing we could eliminate them.
“Imagine being able to essentially ‘grow’, ‘cook’ or prepare foods without the negative industrial impact – everything from fertilizers to saute pans and even packaging,” says Homaro Cantu, chef and owner of the Moto Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois, who has printed sushi using an ink jet printer. “You can imagine a 3D printer making homemade apple pie without the need for farming the apples, fertilizing, transporting, refrigerating, packaging, fabricating, cooking, serving and the need for all of the materials in these processes like cars, trucks, pans, coolers, etc,” he adds.
Significant progress has already been made on printers that would dramatically reduce the environmental impact of the food industry. There has already been success in printing meats, sushi, and cookies.
Where does Elon Musk come in? The current printers are not enough. They are limited in ingredient selection, they also are struggling to get the printers to accommodate for different cooking types. The printers are not ready for the public yet. Elon Musk would be able to expand the product, making it accessible for at-home use, and capable of cooking full recipes. Only then will the invention be capable of having an impact.
Are 3-D food printers the wave of the future?
Featured Image Courtesy of Incredible Things (which reports that NASA is funding a project that will make 3-D printed pizzas possible. NASA hopes to address World Hunger with their discoveries.)