An automated, modular system for organic waste utilization using Hermetia illucens larvae: Design, sustainability, and economics

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Maximilian Julius Pahmeyer
  • Shahida Anusha Siddiqui
  • Daniel Pleissner
  • Janusz Gołaszewski
  • Volker Heinz
  • Sergiy Smetana
Large amounts of food are wasted, and valuable contents are not utilized completely. Processing such wastes into biomass of defined composition is possible using insects. However, automation and decentralization of insect-based processes are necessary for certain applications. This study presents a modular design for rearing larvae of the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens. A life cycle and economic assessment are carried out to check whether the process may be viable. A sales price of 3.55 € per kg of the product would make it profitable within five years. Production of 1 kg of dried larvae would be associated with 2.77 kg CO2 eq emitted, 55.24 MJ of non-renewable energy use, and occupation of 0.68 m2 of organic arable land. Per kg protein, the insect biomass appears more sustainable than database benchmarks. These results indicate that even small-scale insect production processes have sustainability benefits when using food waste.
Original languageEnglish
Article number134727
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Issue numberPart 2
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15.12.2022

Bibliographical note

This research is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in the frame of FACCE-SURPLUS/FACCE-JPI project UpWaste, grant numbers 031B0934A and 031B0934B, and by the National (Polish) Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) (Project FACCE SURPLUS/III/UpWaste/02/2020).

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Insects, Waste processing, Food waste, Modular technology
  • Biology