Austria-based engineering group Christof Industries has partnered with waste-to-nutrient company AgriProtein to build up to 25 fly farms a year.
AgriProtein rears fly larvae (on an industrial scale) on organic waste and harvests the larvae to make natural, high-protein animal feed products.
The company believes insect meal presents a more sustainable alternative to fishmeal, with the production process diverting large volumes of organic waste from landfills to feed the larvae.
Using a high-tech blueprint developed with Christof Industries, AgriProtein plans to roll out 100 fly factories by 2024, and a further 100 by 2027.
The $10-million partnership will help bring insect protein into the mainstream of feeds used in aquaculture, poultry farming and petfood.
Christof Industries will deliver the factories on a turnkey basis as AgriProtein’s engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) partner.
The fly farms will be operated by local licensees of AgriProtein technology in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
The contract follows Christof Industries’ industrialisation of AgriProtein’s existing plant in Cape Town, in which it enhanced existing automation to more than double the facility’s waste-processing capability.
The fly farms being rolled out will up-cycle up to 91 000 t of organic waste a year to produce up to 7 000 t of MagMeal (animal feed) and MagOil (oil for use in feeds).
“Waste-to-nutrient technology is starting to get traction and price per ton is key in the fight to replace fishmeal,” says AgriProtein CEO Jason Drew. “Christof’s expertise has enabled us to boost output and reduce costs, making us even more competitive and giving us a sound model for rapid global expansion.”
“It is not every day that we are asked to take over responsibility for the industrialisation and automisation of a fly-farm with a population of 8.5-billion flies, and afterwards execute a roll out programme of 25 plants a year,” adds Christof Industries CEO Johann Christof.
“This is a world first and our engineers did a brilliant job. Starting in 2017 we can deliver efficient, automatised and high-volume fly farms anywhere. The demand for sustainable insect protein is growing rapidly and as AgriProtein’s partner we will help meet that demand.”
Drew emphasises the importance of AgriProtein’s farming venture.
“Our mission is to find a better way to feed the world. Replacing fishmeal with insect meal in animal feed allows the oceans to heal and reduces greenhouse gases at every stage of the chain from point-of-catch to point-of-sale.
“It also helps solve the food security challenge and tackle the waste crisis. A fly farm located close to a city absorbs the weight of a typical cruise ship in organic waste per year, reducing the volume, pollution and cost of landfill.”