Danish startup using plug and play larvae rearing system to upcycle waste into feed

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Tomasz Klejdysz
© GettyImages/Tomasz Klejdysz

Related tags: Insect, black soldier fly larvae, Denmark

Insectum ApS, founded in 2018 and based on the island of Funen in Denmark, is getting ready to roll out large, self-ventilating plug-and-play Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae rearing units.

“We are currently in the final stages of testing and fine-tuning our sensor-based second-generation unit prototype, in relation to ventilation and various process control elements,”​ said David Munk-Bogballe, founder and CEO of Insectum.

The company’s patent-pending system and method for the rearing of BSF larvae promises to cut the investment requirement for setting up a rearing and processing plant by 80%. “The units are cost-effective to build and are cheaper to run in terms of energy costs,”​ said the CEO.

BSF larvae can feed on standard feed grade materials like grain, overripe and discarded crops, food waste, and low-value industrial by-products. The 28 sq. m scale containers would be licensed out to potential clients such as farmers, waste stream providers, or local governments with waste management challenges, continued Munk-Bogballe.

“The simplicity and flexibility of these units makes it possible to set up and integrate them next to technologically advanced factories as well as to operate in more remote, rural locations in order to upcycle by-products and waste streams,”​ he said.

The rearing of the larvae requires very little water as they get their moisture requirements via the feed.

The units, which are initially being built in-house, are simple to operate and easy to move and transport, said the CEO. The production capacity of each container is 10 tons of larvae per week. The idea would be to locate several of these units in one location to enable production at scale.

Such a production model, said the Danish firm, can make a major contribution to bridging the demand gap and help reduce the environmental impacts of mega cities, and their food systems, whilst keeping greenhouse gas emissions low.

The startup is also setting up a pilot processing plant in Funen; the goal eventually would be to have a central processing unit fed by the larvae from plug and play unit operations, with animal feed and food sectors the key target markets.

Financing 

Insectum has secured investment of DKK 3m (US$425K) from pig farmer, Jens Bøgild, via his holding company Rugballegaard Holding A/S, the CEO told us.

We have also been awarded a further DKK 750K in grants and we are part of two Green Development and Demonstration Program (GUDP) projects with the University of Aarhus along with two other Danish insect producers,”​ Munk-Bogballe added.

The company has a board comprising five members, the chairman of which is Rasmus Jarlov, former minister of business affairs in Denmark. 

Insectum is currently engaging with strategic financiers, investors with a background in agriculture and farming, with a view to accelerating its fundraising efforts and supporting the startup’s recruiting efforts over the next 12 months, said the founder.

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