Development of new recycling paths
The project can be divided into two parts. The first task is the development of new utilization paths for insect products with a focus on biobased olefins and complex nutrient media and other application options with good sales prospects. To this end, existing contacts with potential customers are to be further expanded and new partners are to be acquired who are interested in marketing the process and the products (insect proteins and fats). Customer needs in the chemical, food, animal feed, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries are to be analyzed and specified. Questions to be clarified are the necessary specifications for the quality of the products, as well as the market, cost and competitive situation. With the help of the market study, at least two particularly attractive paths of use for insect products are to be identified and brought to market maturity.
Optimization of the production process
The focus of the second task is the optimization of the manufacturing process of insect products. Comprehensive practical investigations on the use of biogenic residues and waste materials as cost-effective and sustainable raw material alternatives are planned. In addition to substrate screening and numerous feeding trials, comprehensive product analyses and application tests are planned. Further investigations are planned for the targeted control of product properties (e.g. protein properties such as amino acid composition and fat properties such as fatty acid chain length, degree of saturation and number of C atoms) by substrate selection, process control and adaptation or selection of specific beneficial insects. In addition, further laboratory tests are planned for the development of an integrated plant concept. The proposed concept aims at supporting a high energetic and material efficiency by integrating the insect production process into existing biogas plants. In this way, maximum added value can be achieved from the organic raw materials and the generation of waste products that are expensive to dispose of can be avoided. In addition, the process combination enables an optimization of the heat energy supply, which leads to a higher energy efficiency of the entire insect production process. On the other hand, it should be possible to remove ammonium nitrogen from the fermentation residues of the biogas plant, which leads to a reduction in the nitrogen load applied to the soil. In a qualified feasibility study, a material and energy balance and an economic analysis of the integrated plant concept are to be drawn up. The study represents the basis for a future implementation in practice.