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What is the impact of artificial climate control in insect farms?

We encourage our team members to contribute to articles of their interest related to the insect industry and this article was written by our Engineering Intern, Nico.


The emergence of insect rearing companies globally has opened up new opportunities for sustainable protein production. However, insect farming at scale isn’t “simple”.


Insects, in particular the Black Soldier Fly, have a preference temperature of 27°C to 35°C (80°F to 95°F), humidity of 50% to 70%, with a few variation preference (light, shelter) throughout their whole lifecycle.


In temperate climates, insect producers rely heavily on the implementation of artificial climate control, especially for production during cold months (where they may become less active or enter a state of dormancy). By regulating temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors, insect farmers can create optimal conditions for insect growth and maintain year-round production. (Climate control means heating, cooling, ventilating, humidifying or de-humidifying the farming area where the larvae are developing.)


In the tropics, the advantage is the fact that the climate is naturally suitable for the Black Soldier Fly, hence reducing energy consumption, allowing for year-round production. Climate control may still be needed, but not as intensively as needed in temperate climates.


What is the impact of climate control?


The insect farming is a new industry and its climate control usage hasn’t been subject to extensive research. Hence, we had a look at the established poultry industry as a reference as it requires similar environment control to ensure the animals are in optimal conditions.


For a medium broiler farm of 375m^2 in the UK, the energy consumption for climate control represents more than £10,000 per year. The energy expenses can make up 25% of the annual gross income depending on the location and local weather. All these is less when farming in the tropics, where its environment is already what the animals prefer.


When building an insect farm, consider the economical (cost, production, profitability) and environmental (energy, GHG) implications which may signifantly impact overall success of the project. Insect farming is generally sustainable, but where it is farmed, how it is farmed, matters too for wholesome sustainability.


Protenga is building a scalable infrastructure for renewable nutrition, and our expertise are in palm byproducts. If you have a palm plantation and would like to get more out of your byproducts, contact us at [email protected] and talk to us!

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