Ex‑ante life cycle assessment of commercial‑scale cultivated meat production in 2030

In this ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of cultivated meat (CM, also sometimes referred to as cell-based meat, clean meat, cultured meat and in-vitro meat) we provide insight into the environmental impact of this product when produced at commercial scales in 2030. This is the first LCA study which uses primary data from multiple CM companies and from associated companies in the CM supply chain, cross-checked by independent experts. On this page we publish the open access peer reviewed article (Int J LCA) and supplementary materials, which are the result of over three years of data collection and analysis. This replaces the CE Delft report previously published on this page.

We conclude that CM can offer environmental gains compared to conventional meats (beef, pork, chicken). CM uses much less land compared to all conventional meats and has lower nitrogen-related emissions in all scenarios, due to much improved feed conversion. When using renewable energy during production and in the most important parts of the supply chain, CM has a lower carbon footprint than ambitious production benchmarks beef and pork, and comparable to chicken. When using global average energy mixes, CM has a lower carbon footprint than beef, but higher than pork and chicken. We provide improvement options for technology and supply chain development, and put these results in the context of the past 10 years of CM LCA research.

Parallel to the LCA, a techno-economic analysis (TEA) was carried out. There is some overlap in factors that reduce both costs and the environmental footprint: energy efficiency, energy source selection, efficient use of medium and medium production, and supply chain collaboration.


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