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Illinois on track to become home of the world’s biggest insect protein plant

Illinois on track to become home of the world’s biggest insect protein plant

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Hermetia Illucens

Hermetia Illucens. (Photo by Donald Hobern, via Flickr/Creative Commons) 

CHICAGO — U.S. grain trader and processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. and French biotech company InnovaFeed announced plans on Thursday to build the world’s largest insect protein plant in Decatur, Illinois, about 135 miles northeast of St. Louis.

The announcement comes amid rising global feed grain prices and tightening supplies, and as more companies work toward reducing the carbon footprint of their operations. Insects are seen as a sustainable alternative to fishmeal and other high-protein feeds.

The plant will produce 60,000 metric tons of animal feed protein annually from Hermetia Illucens, a highly nutritional type of fly, along with 20,000 metric tons of oils for poultry and swine rations and 400,000 metric tons of fertilizer, the companies said in a release.

Construction of the facility is slated to begin next year, pending permits and approvals.

The facility will be built adjacent to ADM’s massive corn processing complex and will utilize corn byproducts as feed for the insects, as well as waste heat and steam from the corn processing plant. The collaborative scheme will emit 80% less carbon dioxide than a standalone facility, the companies said.

"ADM Decatur’s corn-based co-products will be recycled locally to feed insects through infrastructure connected to the site. This production model will also allow InnovaFeed to use 27MW of residual energy recovered from the ADM process, energy that was not previously recovered," InnovaFeed said in a statement.

InnovaFeed also on Thursday launched an insect protein production site in Nesle, northern France, currently the world’s largest with a capacity of 15,000 metric tons of insect protein. It will ultimately feed the equivalent of 400,000 metric tons of fish, poultry and pigs.

The companies did not disclose how much they would invest in the Decatur project.

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