Buhler Protix
Bühler Insect Technology Solutions is located in Liyang, China, and already has begun operations. 
Photo courtesy of Bühler.
UZWIL, SWITZERLAND -- Bühler and Protix have founded Bühler Insect Technology Solutions joint venture to develop scalable, industrial solutions for the rearing and processing of insects to provide protein primarily for animal feed and food.

Bühler Insect Technology Solutions is located in Liyang, China, and already has begun operations.

The goal of the joint venture is to develop industrial scale solutions for feedstock processing, larvae rearing and larvae processing, and to produce high-quality insect ingredients – covering the whole value chain from rearing to separation and extraction of proteins and lipids. Initially, the focus will be on larvae of the Black Soldier Fly, nicknamed the “Queen of waste transformation” for its ability to transform organic waste products into high-quality protein.

Subsequently there will be a diversification to other insects, such as mealworms. The insect proteins will be used primarily for the production of sustainable animal feed, for example in aquaculture, which is the fastest growing agricultural segment in the world. The market for insect processing solutions has huge potential: By 2050, insects could account for 15% of global protein production.

“By combining the knowledge and experience of our two companies, we can provide industrial insect processing solutions to address the alternative protein market,” said Ian Roberts, CTO of Bühler.

“Together, we can develop both sustainable and cost effective solutions for large scale insect producers and processors that cover the whole value chain,” said Kees Aarts, chief executive officer of Protix.

Protix was founded 2009 in the Netherlands. In just a few years, the company developed proprietary equipment and solutions gaining extensive operational expertise not only in the breeding and rearing cycle, but also in separating and extracting proteins and lipids from insects. With a pilot plant, it processes 1,600 tonnes of insect larvae per year and produces high quality, insect-based ingredients.

“Protix is the most advanced insect company that has demonstrated industrial-scale production in a way that is scalable and multipliable,” Roberts said. “They have proven how to create a market in insect protein.”

Now they are ready to take the company to the next level and need a partner who understands the requirements of large, industrial processors. Bühler is a technology leader in milling, which is one of the key process steps for extracting protein from insects. Additionally, Bühler supports customers through its global service network.

“Bühler has a strong, established business providing technologies for animal feed, and protein from the insects can be used in pellets, or directly as animal feed,” Roberts explained. “With our global market access, technology base, and engineering capabilities, combined with the deep knowledge, experience and entrepreneurial flair of Protix, we have the ingredients for a successful commercial partnership.”