Jane Lind Sam COO from ENORM Biofactory on the potential of Black Soldier Fly Larvae
You are the Co-founder of ENORM Biofactory A/S in Denmark, a company that is producing sustainable feed protein. In our project you are involved in the lipid production by black soldier fly larvae. So, let me ask you: “When was the first time you saw the potential of black soldier fly larvae for biofuel production?”
I first heard about black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) production about 10 years ago. I stumbled upon it when researching about remediation of nutrients from manure through microalgae. I was amazed of the simplicity of growing larvae. No expensive lights, no advanced bioreactor. Just a box of feedstock and baby larvae. It turned out to be not so simple – due to major challenges to overcome related to both logistics, ventilation, and reproduction, not to mention significant investments in processing equipment – but the general idea to concentrate and make nutrients assemble trough an effective biological conversion is just brilliant. Since larvae are not picky and strive on almost any organic feed stock and can be processed into different qualities and for a cascade of uses, biofuel was one on the obvious potentials to explore.
What is the most surprising result in these two and a half years of the project?
It may not have been surprising, but the food waste feeding trials has shown that this complex feed stock is the best feed we have ever tested on our larvae, when it comes to the growth and feed conversion performance of the larvae. Living on food waste is the BSFL natural habitat so it makes total sense, but still quite amazing to confirm this in us on facilities.
You were granted permission by the Danish Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries to conduct controlled trials using biowaste, which is currently not legal in the European Union. Do you think the EU could change its policy on this in the future?
I think this policy should be changed, yes. Today the European Union still needs documentation to conduct full risk assessments, and make sure that no hazard can be introduced in the food chain though food waste fed BSFL– we should of course make 100% sure it is safe. But utilizing the larvae for industrial purposes, such as biofuel, does not expose anyone to a food safety risk. There is however an ethical question to address, if we produce and process BSFL, with the aim to produce e.g. biofuel.
Thank you for the insight into your work. One last question: “If you could wish for something in the project, what would it be?”
I hope that it turns out to be not only possible, but also profitable and sustainable, to produce biofuels from the feed stocks in the project. Personally, I wish I can take an airplane with clean conscious in the future. The next best fun, after developing sustainable and innovative business models, is to travel!
Jane Lind Sam
COO ENORM Biofactory A/S
ENORM Biofactory upcycles side streams from the food industry and is ambitious about utilising the potential of Black Soldier Fly Larvae. The larvae are utilised as feed materials for fish, poultry, pigs and pets, among others.
Within FLEXI-GREEN FUELS, ENORM is involved in WP4.
The ENORM team: Jane Lind Sam and Toke Munk Shou.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 101007130.