ENERGY GLOBE
Bulgaria

WINNER:
Nasekomo AD

With the Project:
Automation and industrialization of the insect industry for production of local sustainable proteins at scale

Nasekomo’s project uses Black Soldier Flies to convert organic waste into insect biomass, which is in turn transformed into a protein feed alternative for aquaculture and livestock, called insect bioconversion. The process involves feeding insect larvae with organic residue, e.g., materials of vegetable origin from food processing or agricultural production. Products currently being produced are insect protein and insect oil for inclusion in animal feed, as well as organic fertilizer for the agriculture industry. In 2020, through automation, Nasekomo has reached a capacity of 200 tons of protein per year.

INITIAL SITUATION

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion, the FAO estimates that the world needs to increase its food production by 70% to feed everyone. At the same time, the demand for animal protein is rapidly increasing. It is expected that the demand will grow by at least 70% in the next 15 years. The resources needed to meet this high animal protein demand are rapidly depleting. The traditional methods of producing animal proteins put a heavy burden on the planet’s natural resources. Furthermore, indirect emissions from deforestation due to soy cultivation with the purpose of animal feed production already account for 134 m tons of CO2 equivalent annually. Besides, the growing amount of organic waste impacts the environment and is expensive to recycle. Approximately one third of the food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted due to production, transformation, storage, logistics and consumption habits. This is equivalent to 1.3 billion tons of food each year. The total carbon footprint of food wastage, including land use change, is equivalent to around 4.4 Gt of CO2 per year.

SOLUTION

The organization’s mission is to sustainably revolutionize the protein industry and help feed the growing population. Its overall activities and the current project in particular are based on the idea of protein sustainability and the principles of circularity. It seeks to solve challenges such as the environmental damages caused by the production of traditional proteins, as well as the growing demand for proteins at a local and global level. A solution is provided to reduce the consumption of natural resources and greenhouse gases by producing a sustainable alternative to soy and fish meal. So far, the project has created 36 jobs in a highly innovative industry. The activities in 2019 alone have led to the processing of 313 tons of organic waste, have saved 78 tons of wild fish, and reduced CO2 emissions by 55 tons. By 2030, the aim is to have a network of insect bioconversion centers and to produce 160,000 tons of insect protein annually, to process 8 million tons of waste, save 1.3 million tons of CO2 from being released and 1.8 million tons of wild fish cumulatively.

INNOVATION

Nasekomo harnesses the power of insects to make the protein production process sustainable. Proteins are produced for animal feed with minimal land usage while saving greenhouse gas emissions, as well as wild fish in the process. It also processes tons of waste streams, upcycling them into a premium product, thus implementing the principles of circular economy, while having a zero-waste production. A vertical modular technology is used. The technology itself is automated, and can be scaled up without intensive investments in more space and equipment. Furthermore, as automated equipment is used, it solves the issue of the high-labor intensity of the processes.

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