UK Research and Innovation has invested £5.9 million in a new carbon-cutting project that uses insects to transforms waste food into animal food.
The funding for the sustainable insect farming collaboration – led by London-based insect rearing company Entocycle and its partners – will allow them to scale up their cutting-edge farming model in the UK and across the world.
Entocycle’s innovative technology breeds black soldier flies which feed on unused food, such as rejected supermarket produce.
The insects are then harvested and processed into animal feed using a highly automated system, that is profitable, sustainable and scalable.
Rolling this technology out across the country will make UK food production more efficient and less carbon intensive, with the potential to create over 3,000 UK-based jobs.
In addition, as part of UKRI’s Transforming Food Production challenge’s Science and Technology into Practice Feasibility competition £4.3 million is being allocated to 23 feasibility projects.
The aim of the competition is to demonstrate the feasibility of new prototype technology to boost agricultural productivity and reduce emissions.
Examples of projects being funded include Healthy Heifer, a precision solution to improve productivity across the dairy sector, a new biopesticide to control Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles in Oilseed Rape and a robot to monitor grain quality held in bulk storage.
“The Entocycle-led project is one of the most interesting and exciting projects we have funded. Our aim is to make the UK a global hub for Black Soldier Fly farming. Successful development and scaling of this technology should lead to a significant boost in recycling of food waste and a reduction in emissions,” said Katrina Hayter, Challenge Director of UKRI’s Transforming Food Production programme.
“There are many innovative projects in our latest Feasibility Competition showcasing ideas for improving productivity and cutting emissions that range across the whole agricultural sector, from arable, to livestock, to sensor technology to new biopesticides. Our funding and support for these projects is ongoing.”