SINGAPORE – Foodtech start-up Life3 Biotech aims to open an eco-friendly production facility in Paya Lebar by the second quarter of 2024.
The 25,000 sq ft plant will utilise the company’s proprietary technology to produce up to six tonnes of vegetables and 1,400 tonnes of edible plant protein a year.
The technology underpins what the firm calls Hydroponics Integrating MicroAlgae and Solar Energy System (HIMASS), a process that incorporates artificial intelligence, solar panels and water upcycling technologies to produce its food items within a self-sustaining ecosystem.
These products will be delivered to customers on electric trucks charged by the same solar panels.
Life3 Biotech employs 10 people, but this will grow to about 30 by the time the new plant – called Life3 Urban Sustainability Hub (Lush) – is completed in 2024.
Chief executive Ricky Lin said on Dec 21 that HIMASS demonstrates how an end-to-end food production system can be deployed sustainably in cities like Singapore.
He also noted that the firm’s products are not meant to replace animal protein, but are alternatives that can complement a healthy diet: “We can be the alternative when a food crisis happens… the good thing is that a lot of consumers can already relate to plant-based proteins.”
Mr Lin added that Life3 Biotech intends to expand regionally and to China, but did not provide specifics.
Life3 Biotech was incorporated in 2019 and specialises in creating plant-based protein. Its products include Veego, which is made from legumes and microalgae, and Peasy, a product from pea protein.
The firm inked memorandums of understanding with solar panel company Union Solar, AI Singapore, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Nanyang Polytechnic on Dec 21.
The agreements with ITE and Nanyang Polytechnic involve setting up academic programmes to encourage students to deepen their knowledge on food and biotechnology.
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling told the ground-breaking event for Lush on Dec 21 that Singapore is more susceptible to food supply disruptions because it imports most of its food.
She noted that this is why the Government has set a “30 by 30” goal to produce 30 per cent of the country’s nutritional needs by 2030.
“Due to our small size and natural constraints, we must work around limited water and land, which are critical for food production,” she said.
“Hence, it is even more important for the agri-food industry in Singapore to leverage technology and adopt innovative and sustainable food production methods.”