Engines reject 60% of the energy contained in their fuel as heat. This is a thermodynamic reality of the combustion process. The energy is low grade, making it ideal for heating. Alberta has very concentrated sites where this energy can be accessed, at natural gas compression facilities.
Gaia Protein's leadership has accessed rejected energy in a previous biotech project (SFN Biosystems). This energy access process and technology was successful, and SFN Biosystems received a National Innovation Award from the Federal Minister of Science and Technology.
Gaia Protein's production facilities will be co-located with our Alberta energy partners. Gaia Protein will work with our partners to utilize the heat which is dissipated from natural gas compressors, while creating no interruptions to the facility's normal operations.
Science and Technology
Gaia Protein is adapting and applying modern and established agricultural science and technology to cricket production, to be competitive in the emerging global insect agriculture industry.
The Western Canadian agriculture industry is highly efficient due to advanced science and technology, economies of scale, a high degree of specialization, and intense competition. Gaia Protein is leveraging existing capacity to operate with our partners, in this context.
This application creates an opportunity to improve outcomes in a production system which has not yet been optimized, through reducing the cost of production and scaling to commercial viability.
Cricket protein contains all essential amino acids required by the human body, is rich in vitamin B12, and evidence exists of gut health and other benefits. Insect protein is highly suitable for numerous applications in the food and food ingredients markets.
Crickets have a very short life cycle, growing quickly and reproducing efficiently. The entire cricket can be utilized, resulting in no waste. They produce very little GHG emissions, and no methane. They require minimal inputs of space, water, and feed. They are very efficient at protein conversion, and yield a product with high protein content.
Global demand for protein is rising, including for alternatives to conventional sources. The four pillars of food security (World Health Organization) are availability, access, utilization, and stability. Insect protein can play an important role in future global food security, as it can be produced quickly and efficiently with minimal inputs. The environmental advantages of insect production help combat climate change, one of the biggest threats to global food security. Diversification in the food supply increases resiliency to disruptions (such as crop failures).
Energy is Critical
Insects are metabolically efficient because they do not regulate their body temperature. As a result, for efficient commercial production, facilities must be kept at high and consistent temperatures.
Heating and cooling using conventional energy sources represents a source of GHG emissions and reduces the environmental advantage of insect production. These input costs reduce the price competitiveness of insect protein and acceptance into conventional markets.
Gaia Protein's solution
Utilizing alternative energy in the production facility creates environmental and economic opportunity to produce high quality, environmentally advantageous, and competitive protein.
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