Pilot insect farm

Central Finland, Finland | JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Bioeconomy

Institute of Bioeconomy, JAMK University of Applied Sciences, operates a pilot-scale insect farm that consists of 100 m2 of climate-controlled rooms for insect rearing and 150 m2 of floor space for automation and machinery. Insect rearing generally is mostly done by hand, so we are developing how to increase the automation in cost-efficient way.

The facility allows feeding experiments to be run on realistic scale instead of bench-scale, whose results have shown not to scale up proportionally. As we focus on the waste- and side streams, we can test wide range of difference biomasses from expired foodstuff to sewage sludge.

As part of a newly emerged sector, we appreciate all ideas and connections.

Current use of the farm

As a part of EntoTek -project, we are currently rearing black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) for purpose of processing biomass-based waste and side streams from food industry and municipalities. Our goal is to create an operational model for treating industrial and municipal waste at 1000 – 10000 kg/week capacity.

The aim of the project is to develop sustainable and cost-effective technology for the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) adult production and to improve the profitability of insect production by increasing the degree of production automation. The project also aims to create an operational model for treating municipal and industrial wastewater, sludge and biodegradable waste with Hermetia illucens larvae and to determine whether pathogens, bacteria and drug residues are being removed or reduced during the larvae process. Broader objectives of the project include the pursuit of low-carbon policies and thereby slowing down climate change, promoting the circular economy by utilizing waste streams and the nutrients they contain as new products, and promoting regional vitality through innovative, open and widespread development activities.

Concrete measures to achieve the objectives of the project include mapping of technological solutions suitable for insect production and applying and developing selected technological solutions to meet the needs of insect production and increasing the degree of automation of production. The project will test and pilot policies for treating sewage sludge and biodegradable waste with Hermetia larvae and will investigate the reduction of potential drug residues and possible pathogens, viruses and bacteria in the municipal waste treatment process. The project will result in an automated, durable and cost-effective, regionally exploited concept for adult production of Hermetia, which will be replicable and scalable to a commercial scale.

As a result of the project, new knowledge and technologies will be created that will contribute to investment in insect production, growth and profitability of the industry, and the liberalization of the use of insects in the treatment of various biomasses.