Agroloop builds insect factory for animal feed in Hungary with WEDA

The German feeding technology specialist WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp has supplied the Hungarian insect producer Agroloop with feeding technologies for its new black soldier fly larvae rearing facility.

Weda Agroloop
Courtesy WEDA

The German feeding technology specialist WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp has supplied the Hungarian insect producer Agroloop with feeding technologies for its new black soldier fly larvae rearing facility.

The plant for the industrial production of the feed insect is being built near Budapest Airport, and will go into operation in autumn 2024. Agroloop Hungary is significantly increasing its existing larvae breeding capacities for the European market with the plant investment of more than EUR20 million (US$21.5 million). By the conclusion of this year, the agtech company is expected to receive 120 metric tons of raw material per day, of which 6,000 metric tons of soil improver granules, nearly 3,000 metric tons of feed protein and more than 600 metric tons of feed fat will be produced annually – producing approximately 10,000 tons of end product in the 13,000-square-meter plant.

High-quality insect-based feed proteins are increasingly being used as a health-promoting source of protein for the pet food and livestock feed segment. In view of a rapidly growing world population, the global demand for animal proteins is expected to increase by approximately 100% by 2050. It is estimated that the insect feed market will reach a total annual turnover of EUR2 billion by the end of the decade, producing 1 million metric tons of insect meal per year.

More than 20,000 metric tons of substrates per year

WEDA’s scope of delivery includes the complete feed kitchen, in which liquid and dry byproducts from the food industry are processed into a viscous feed mash. Three mixing tanks are installed in parallel in the plant for this purpose. The mash is mixed and dosed according to fixed recipes. The larvae of the soldier fly develop into full-grown larvae in a short time on the food mash created in this way.

“After the last construction phase, Agroloop can convert more than 40,000 metric tons of substrates per year – with the system producing in a two-shift process,” said Gerrit Niehues, the WEDA product manager responsible.

Sufficiently large storage containers for the feed ingredients are also part of the WEDA equipment.

All this contributes significantly to the circular operation that Agroloop represents: It uses feed grade byproducts with valuable nutritional content to feed the larvae, which convert low-value biomass into high-quality feed protein and fat. This process has a much lower ecological footprint compared with other conventional animal feedstock production, requiring 30 times less land and 40 times less water per equivalent weight, while producing 40 times less carbon emissions than the average livestock production.

CIP principle cleans automatically

Feed production is subject to strict hygiene and safety requirements. In order to guarantee consistently hygienic conditions in the pipework, mixing tanks and storage tanks, the WEDA feeding system is equipped with a clean-in-place cleaning system. The CIP principle ensures that soiling and production-related deposits in the production system are cleaned automatically without having to switch it off or dismantle it. “With the cleaning concept, we prevent contamination and germ loads and guarantee that the quality of the feed is harmless to health,” Niehues said.

Low energy consumption

To ensure reliable transport of the substrates, WEDA relies on its proven conveyor technology from the agricultural sector. With the help of a special control system, the feed components can be combined from a variety of storage containers.

“This enables Agroloop to produce the most cost-effective recipes depending on requirements and stock levels. The WEDA tanks specially developed for mixing viscous materials are then used for the mixtures,” said Yannik Weinreis from WEDA’s insect sales segment.

According to Weinreis, these tanks have two decisive advantages: first, they give insect producers a particularly high degree of flexibility in terms of the feed components that can be used, and second, they enable the use of drier-than-average feed mixtures, which means that less water has to be evaporated than in conventional systems in the downstream insect fattening process and valuable energy can be saved.

Modular design

The feed kitchen is also characterized by its modular design, meaning that additional tanks can be easily integrated into the existing system. The modular system simplifies future expansions and thus offers great added value. With this technology and its functions, WEDA responds to the special needs of insect producers and also makes an important contribution to the economic operation of industrial breeding systems.

More environmentally friendly animal feed production

“This significant investment promotes the expansion of the company’s production capacities and technological development. This will enable us to contribute even more intensively to the development of the domestic circular economy based on biomass,” said Rajmond Percze, CEO and co-founder of Agroloop, praising the technical design of the insect factory.

According to Percze, the breeding of the black soldier fly makes an important contribution to reducing the environmental impact of animal feed production. With the help of such innovative technologies and the circular economy approach, Agroloop is ready to become a leading player in Central Europe in sustainable feed production, helping to utilize agricultural byproducts and create a more sustainable value chain. The company’s long-term goal is to drive positive changes in agricultural practices also beyond the region and to create a more efficient and environmentally friendly feed production system than ever before.

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