Estimation of the economy of heterotrophic microalgae- and insect-based food waste utilization processes

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articles


An estimation of the economy of Hermetia illucens and Chlorella pyrenoidosa cultivations as food waste treatment with benefits was carried out. For both organisms, a process scale was assumed to treat 56.3 t of wet food waste per day, which is equivalent to the amount of food waste appearing in a catchment area of 141,000 inhabitants. Using hypothetical insect and heterotrophic microalgae cultivation processes, a daily production of 3.64 t and 7.14 t dried biomass, respectively, can be achieved. For the cultivation of H. illucens, equipment and daily operational costs were estimated at 79,358.15 € and 5,281.56 €, respectively. Equipment and operational costs for the C. pyrenoidosa cultivation was 50 and 6 times higher, respectively. The higher costs reflect the more complex and advanced process compared to H. illucens cultivation. The internal return rate for a plant lifetime of 20 times revealed an economic benefit when C. pyrenoidosa biomass is produced. Nevertheless, both processes were found economically feasible when dried biomass is directly commercialized as food without any further downstream processing. However, extraction and purification of special chemicals, such as unsaturated fatty acids and pigments, can significantly increase the revenue.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 01.02.2020

    Research areas

  • Chlorella pyrenoidosa, Equipment cost, Food and feed, Food waste, Hermetia illucens, Operational cost
  • Chemistry
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