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Data center excess heat for mealworm farming, an applied analysis for sustainable protein production

Data center excess heat for mealworm farming

08 October 2023, 20:15

The work we have done at RISE on mealworm farming, an applied analysis for sustainable protein production based on excess heat, is now published in the journal Applied energy, Volume 353, Part A, 1 January 2024. The authors are Mattias Vesterlund, Stanislava Borisova and Ellinor Emilsson.

Since Sweden joined the EU in 1995, importing food became easier and cheaper, leading to certain parts of the country, such as Norrbotten, becoming highly dependent on imports. This dependency, along with the inherent environmental impact of imports, could be significantly reduced by local farming. The environmental emissions originating from animal farming could be lowered even further by substituting the highly polluting soybean feed with, e.g., insect feed. 

This study examines the farming of mealworms, utilizing excess heat from a data center, part of a growing industry in Norrbotten county, as a means of alternative feedstock for animal production and a case study for industrial symbiosis. This industrial symbiosis project is in line with the EU’s incentive to use other sources of protein and thus lower the EU’s reliance on the import of foreign protein. Three different feeding approaches are tested, in a room heated with data center excess heat of 30 ◦C and at room temperature of about 20 ◦C. After the adult mealworms were harvested, a sample was taken to analyze their nutritional values. 

The results show that protein, lipid, and fiber content is 19,1 g, 12,6 g, and 2,7 g per 100 g, respectively. All amino acids except tryptophan were detected. This project concludes that it is possible to reach full-grown mealworms in about 8 weeks, which is about half the time stated in the literature.

Read more in the published article: https://lnkd.in/dQ-KrtqC

Mattias Vesterlund

Mattias Vesterlund

Projektledare

+46 10 228 44 41

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