Bühler builds large-scale insect plant for Agronutris in France

Bühler Group will be the process solution provider for Agronutris’ first commercial-scale BSF plant and will cover the entire supply chain.

Bühler builds large-scale insect plant for Agronutris in France
The 16,000-square meter insect plant in Rethel, France, will produce high-quality protein for the aquaculture and pet food markets.
December 16, 2021

French insect producer Agronutris has chosen Bühler Group as its process solution provider for its first commercial-scale black soldier fly plant. Bühler will deliver a full-scope solution for the facility, which will be built in Rethel, France. This collaboration is a major milestone for both organizations. It reinforces Bühler’s commitment to ambitious targets that will help mitigate climate change and build a more sustainable food system and support Agronutris’ goal to establish itself as a world leader for sustainable nutrition. The plant is planned to go into operation in 2023.

The 16,000-square meter insect plant in Rethel, France, when operating at full capacity, will process up to 70,000 tons of organic residues and produce high-quality protein for the aquaculture and pet food markets every year. “With the launch of this new site, Agronutris is entering its industrial deployment stage. The facility of Rethel will be our springboard for the further industrial development of our activity,” said Mehdi Berrada, CEO of Agronutris. “Bühler is a world-leading company with tremendous experience in the food and feed sector. We trust in their capabilities to support us in the insect industry. This allows our teams to focus on our core activities, insect biology and operational management of our production flow. Our research and development activities make for our competitive advantage.”

Bühler’s solutions for Agronutris will cover the entire supply chain. This includes feedstock preparation to provide safe, palatable and nourishing feed to the larvae and a fully automated larvae growth system with sophisticated climate control. Bühler will also deliver the processing line to efficiently transform the grown larvae into protein meal and lipids with consistent quality, as well as the frass (excrement) handling system for a secure offtake of the rearing residues.

In addition, Bühler will be responsible for the entire automation and the timely project execution. The latter encompasses engineering, procurement, manufacturing, supply, installation, and commissioning. “The new project with Agronutris is a milestone for us. It confirms our goal of establishing ourselves as a key solution provider for the insect industry and increase the inclusion of insect proteins in animal feed. Our solutions contribute to more sustainable feed supply chains,” said Andreas Baumann, head of market segment insect technology at Bühler.

Agronutris aims to contribute to the emergence of the insect industry and become one of the global leaders of the sector. The growth of its team, joined by entomologists and agro-industry experts, its recent fundraising of €100 million, and the collaboration with major companies such as Bühler, are some of the factors that will allow the company to live up to this ambition.

In an online press conference, Berrada said that the company aims to build nine insect production facilities worldwide, mainly in Europe but also in Asia for the aquafeed industry and in North America for the pet food industry. The second facility aims to be built in the North of France with three times more capacity than the first one.