School children, students and graduates were among thousands of people gathering at Make the Future London at the end of June 2016, a festival of innovation that explored ways to tackle the world’s energy challenges.
Water heated by compost, energy from algae and maggots that help convert waste into animal feed were just some of the ideas to be demonstrated. Creative secondary-school children were hoping their team’s idea for powering cities of the future would win a prize. Sixteen enterprises showed how some innovative ideas can be developed into practical ways to help solve energy and environment challenges.
Entomics, a company founded by four Cambridge University graduates after winning the 2015 Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future competition, showed how bugs can be used to transform food waste into fertiliser and animal feed.
It’s a simple idea for making use of waste that amounts to around a third of food produced globally. Entomics feeds leftover food from a local supermarket to black soldier fly larvae. The larvae then convert it into fat, protein and other nutrients, which the company can refine.
“We are trying to take food waste and transform it into valuable products, using insects,” says Matt McLaren, a Master of Business Administration graduate who oversees strategy and growth at the company.
Entomics secured a business development grant in early 2016 and is now building a production plant inside a converted barn on the edge of Cambridge in east England. They are also talking to large supermarket chains in the UK about scaling up the operation, and have plans to process unwanted food from farms, homes and restaurants.