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Insect-protein maker nabs €20 million EU investment

The promise of insect feed continues to become more fact than fiction.

Insect-protein company Ynsect said Tuesday it is using a new investment of €20 million ($22.6 million) to open what it says is the first fully automated industrial insect protein production facility.

The project, called "Farmyng," is based in the city of Amiens, in northern France, and is co-funded by the European Commission and the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) which is investing €20 million.

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The project will produce insects called tenebrio molitor, or mealworm beatles, on an industrial scale. The insects can be used as premium proteins for animal feed and fertilizers.

Over the next 10 years, Ynsect expects to ramp up production to over 200,000 tons and post revenues of around €1 billion, while creating 1,200 direct and indirect jobs.

The molitor larva comprises more than 70 percent protein and is a natural source of nutrients for a wide array of animals, including fish, poultry, pigs, dogs and cats, the company said.

The technology used in the Farmyng project was developed by Ynsect, which has 25 patents on its innovations. The technology is already being used at the first Ynsect site in Dole, in the Jura region of eastern France, which has a capacity to produce up to 30 metric tons a month.

The Farmyng project will optimize the entire process at the new Poulainville plant on the outskirts of Amiens and boost monthly output to over 1,500 metric tons of protein. The Amiens site is due to open in 2021.

"For BBI JU, funding the first industrial biorefinery able to turn insects into premium, high-value proteins for animal feed and fertilizers was a strategic priority," said Philippe Mengal, executive director of BBI JU.

The project brings together feed company Skretting with raw material and nutritional solutions suppliers, researchers and others.

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