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Techno-Economic Modelling and Assessment of Cultivated Meat: Impact of Production Bioreactor Scale




techno-economic analysis, cultured meat, animal cell culture, bioreactor design, large-scale


Increases in global meat demands cannot be sustainably met with current methods of livestock farming, which has a substantial impact on greenhouse gas emissions, land use, and water consumption. Cultivated meat is a rapidly advancing technology that produces meat products by proliferating and differentiating animal stem cells in large bioreactors, avoiding conventional live-animal farming. While many companies are working in this area, there is a lack of existing infrastructure and experience at commercial scale, resulting in many technical bottlenecks such as scale-up of cell fermentation and media availability and costs. In this study, we evaluate theoretical cultivated beef production facilities with the goal of envisioning an industry with multiple facilities to produce in total 100,000,000 kg of cultured beef per year or ~0.14% of the annual global beef production. Using the computer-aided process design software, SuperPro Designer®, facilities are modelled to create a comprehensive techno-economic analysis (TEA) to highlight improvements that can lower the cost of such a production system and allow cultivated meat products to be competitive. Three facility scenarios are presented with different sized production reactors; 42,000 L stirred tank bioreactor (STR) with a base case cost of goods sold (COGS) of $30.4/kg, 210,000 L STR with a COGS of $20.8/kg, and 260,000 L airlift reactor (ALR) with a COGS of $13.0/kg. This study outlines how advances in scaled up bioreactors and decreased media costs are necessary for commercialization of cultured meat products.


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