Innovative Approach to Insect Farming

Published on 2023-08-23

Startup Story

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Discover Kinsect's groundbreaking technology for sustainable insect farming. Revolutionizing protein production with innovative automation and optimized cages


About Kinsect

Kinsect was founded in 2016 as a spin-off of Kourenergy, a renewable energy 
company, by a team of mechatronics engineers, physicists, and entomologists. Our collaboration with the University of Modena and Professor Lara Maistrello led us to recognize the immense potential of insects in bioconverting organic by-products into valuable proteins. We honed in on the black soldier fly, which exhibited the ideal characteristics for protein production in animal feed. However, the scale of insect farming required automation due to the sheer number of insects involved. Our mechatronics and automation expertise played a crucial role in developing an industrial perspective to tackle this challenge.

The technology behind Kinsect's success

The insect farming process can be divided into three phases: nutrient collection and preparation, mating, and larval growth for protein conversion. During the nutrient collection phase, organic by-products are gathered and prepared as food for the insects. Mating, for the black soldier flies, takes place in flight within our patented optimized cages and oviposition devices. The eggs are then collected, and the larvae mature until they are ready for protein conversion.

What sets Kinsect apart from the competition is our optimized cage design, which maximizes fly density while reducing volumes and costs. Unlike continuous processes, our system operates in batches, offering greater efficiency and control. Our software acts as the system's brain, monitoring variables and defining optimized light cycles for maximum mating success. Automation significantly reduces labor requirements and enhances the entire production process.

Scaling Up: Kinsect's Production Capacity and Additional Services

Kinsect boasts an impressive density of over 46,000 flies per cubic meter, with a production cycle of just 10 days. A single cage with slightly over one cubic meter of volume produces an extraordinarily large quantity of eggs to make 240 kilograms of protein meal. While our focus is on technology and automation, we also offer a software and hardware maintenance service, ensuring ongoing support for breeders in optimizing their processes.

Insect farming for sustainable protein production in Europe

Insect protein farming in Europe is poised for substantial growth, projected to reach 4.8 billion euros by 2030. To achieve this, increased production and reduced costs are imperative. Kinsect aims to play a pivotal role in meeting this demand by establishing itself as a tech leader in this rapidly expanding market.

Environmental Impact: The Triumph of Insect Farming

From an environmental perspective, insect farming offers unparalleled benefits. Insects are highly efficient, requiring minimal water and land for growth. They act as waste bio-converters, reducing organic waste and by-products by up to 70% in just ten days. Rearing black soldier flies also yields chitin for bioplastics and organic fertilizer, making the process even more sustainable. By substituting imported proteins with locally produced ones, insect farming can significantly reduce CO2 emissions and the pressure on overexploited ecosystems.

Case study of Kinsect’solution in action

Over the course of 5 years of research, we have developed a Tier 7 plant, a 
demonstration facility capable of producing pre-industrial volumes. 

Our goal for the next 12 months is to establish the first industrial installation (tier 9). The dissemination of productivity data from our technology has garnered significant interest in the industry, and we are already collaborating with some companies to study the layout for the construction of the initial industrial facilities. 

The development of the Tier 7 plant, case study for a Horizon 2020 project, and the interest received from industry players highlight the progress made and the potential impact of our solution in scaling up insect farming for sustainable protein production.

Engaging Stakeholders and Overcoming Challenges

The global demand for alternative proteins with a smaller environmental footprint is rising steadily. Established companies seek to scale up their operations, and new players view Kinsect as an indispensable tech partner for achieving competitiveness and market entry. Although challenges lie ahead, we have a highly motivated team with the expertise to establish our technology as the standard for insect farms dedicated to black soldier flies.  

In conclusion, Kinsect's innovative approach to insect farming has the potential to revolutionize sustainable protein production. With advancements in automation and optimization, we are poised to drive the insect farming industry towards a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. 

About the author

Stefano Guerrieri

Growth Strategist at Kinsect