Swiss multinational plant equipment manufacturer Bühler is building a plant for French insect producer Agronutris, Bühler announced.

In its 16 December statement, Bühler said it would be building Agronutris’ first commercial scale black soldier fly plant in Rethel, France, which was due to become operational next year.

The plant would be able to process up to 70,000 tonnes/year of organic residues to produce high quality protein for the aquaculture and pet food sectors, the company said.

“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,” Agronutris CEO Mehdi Berrada said.

Bühler said it would be responsible for the plant’s entire supply chain, including feedstock preparation and a fully-automated larvae growth system featuring climate control, and the delivery of the processing line to transform the grown larvae into protein meal and lipids.

The company said it would also carry out the automation and delivery of the plant, including engineering, procurement, manufacturing, supply, installation and commissioning.

“The project… confirms our goal of establishing ourselves as a key solution provider for the insect industry and to increase the inclusion of insect proteins in animal feed. Our solutions contribute to more sustainable feed supply chains,” Andreas Baumann, head of market segment insect technology at Bühler said.

The insect protein market for feed is forecast to grow significantly in the next 10 years, according to Bühler, with insect feed operators’ total turnover around US$2.5bn (€2.2bn/year) by the end of the decade with growth led by the aquaculture and petfood sectors.