Process and control today | Bühler opens insect technology center to support customers in feed and food industries

The Bühler Group officially opens its world-class Insect Technology Center (ITC). Located in Uzwil, Switzerland, the facility brings together Bühler’s expertise and the best infrastructure to help the industry grow further. In the ITC, Bühler and its customers can conduct larval growth trials with various raw materials, develop product samples, evaluate breed solutions and conduct training. The ITC, which obtained funding from the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) due to its contribution to a more sustainable food system, is already operational.

“The opening of the Insect Technology Center is an important step in our journey. Over the past few years, we have acquired expertise and maturity to serve different customers in the insect industry with the most adequate and reliable solutions. With our new plant, we are expanding our services and can support our customers even better in setting up an industrial insect plant,” says Andreas Baumann, Head of Insect Technology Market Segment at Bühler.

At the heart of the Center are two insect growth chambers that can mimic industrial production conditions. These chambers have a sophisticated air conditioning system and are equipped with numerous sensors that give valuable information about the process. Based on the collected data, the right parameters and practices can be determined to finally ensure efficient production of insects on an industrial scale. At ITC it is possible to work with the two most relevant insect species for industrial production, namely the black soldier fly and the mealworm.

“A company that wants to build an industrial insect factory must cover several operational aspects. These include finding the right feedstock to raise the larvae, ensuring that there is a strong and suitable strain of insects to grow, setting appropriate climatic parameters with respect to the growth cycle of the larvae or to obtain the emission data required for the authorization process,” explains Andreas. Baumann. All of these topics are critical to the success of an insect factory project and can be covered in Bühler’s new Insect Technology Center. In addition to the services offered to customers, the Bühler team will carry out its own tests, thus constantly improving technology and services for the insect market.

Speed ​​up insect plant projects

ITC aims to accelerate large-scale insect plant initiatives. By using the new test facility, customers may not need to invest in expensive pilot plants to demonstrate technological feasibility. Seeing industrial insect technology in action makes it tangible, allowing customers to directly consider commercially attractive plant sizes. As the insect growth chambers are mobile, they can be sent anywhere, making the infrastructure accessible to customers around the world. “In combination with the exchange of operational know-how, we see enormous potential to reduce the overall time between the project idea and a successful plant,” says Andreas Baumann.

Contribute to a circular economy

Bühler is committed to achieving ambitious goals that will help mitigate climate change and build a more sustainable food system. Insects are a healthy and sustainable source of protein for food and feed. In addition, their excrement can be used as fertilizer, contributing to a circular economy production model. The insect feed protein market is expected to reach half a million metric tons by 2030. By then, the pet food sector is expected to account for 30% and aquaculture 40% of total insect protein volumes . “We are committed to helping the industry reach its full potential. Over the past few years, we have matured and developed the skills needed to help the industry grow further. With proven technologies in our portfolio, we are ready to enable our customers to bring insect-based products to market,” says Andreas Baumann.

You can visit the Insect Technology Center during the Bühler Networking Days 2022.

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