Conference article

Model selection for waste conversion efficiency and energy demands in a pilot for large-scale larvae treatment

Evgheni Ermolaev
Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden

Erik Dahlquist
Department of Energy, Building and Environment, Mälardalen University, Sweden

Cecilia Lalander
Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden

Björn Vinnerås
Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden

Eva Thorin
Department of Energy, Building and Environment, Mälardalen University, Sweden

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Published in: Proceedings of The 60th SIMS Conference on Simulation and Modelling SIMS 2019, August 12-16, Västerås, Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 170:18, p. 118-124

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Published: 2020-01-24

ISBN: 978-91-7929-897-5

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Implementations of conversion systems for segregated food waste into larval biomass are reliant on stability of production environment and predictable outcomes. However, the knowledge is currently lacking for large scale implementation modelling allowing to adjust the process for reaching a stable production quality and predicting the treatment capacity and output product quantity. This study contributed to the development of such knowledge and investigated models for prediction of larvae mass gain in the conversion process, food waste degradation due to larval and microbial activity, heat production based on metabolic activity in the conversion process. These models were used to evaluate the amount of heat produced and compared to the demand for water removal for achieving a minimal total solids content (50%) in the treatment residue for easy larvae separation by sieving. Based on these models’ predictions and measurements of the conversion efficiency it was established that, assuming no heat loss from the system, the heat generated by the process was sufficient to achieve a desirable total solids content in the residue after 14 days of treatment. An exponential heat production from waste degradation can be expected, and thus, for wetter food waste, the treatment period can be expanded to achieve the desired residue total solids content.


black soldier fly, degradation, conversion, sieving, food waste, high water content


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