Yorkshire Water has teamed up with Fera Science Limited to explore the potential of insects in managing sewage sludge.
This three-month preliminary research programme aims to investigate the use of black soldier fly larvae and a process known as insect bioconversion.
The collaboration seeks to develop a circular, nature-based and cost-effective approach to tackle the volume of sewage sludge and its associated challenges.
Black soldier fly larvae have gained attention worldwide as a viable alternative protein source for aquaculture, pig, and poultry feed.
They can be reared using various waste streams, including agricultural and food waste.
Currently, researchers are focusing their efforts on testing the feasibility of employing insect bioconversion in wastewater treatment.
Insect bioconversion is a sustainable practice that involves using insect biomass residue to create valuable products like high quality proteins, oils, packaging materials and soil nutrients.
By embracing this circular economic approach, waste is significantly reduced, and alternative, sustainably sourced ingredients for animal feed are generated.
Richard Kershaw, Wastewater Innovation Programme Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “Yorkshire Water is committed to exploring innovative ways of dealing with the most challenging aspects of wastewater management, including the treatment and disposal of sewage sludge.
“Insects may offer a circular, nature-based and cost-effective way to reduce the volume of sewage sludge that needs to be disposed of, hence our interest in and commitment to funding this preliminary work with Fera.
“Once the preliminary research has been completed, we will look to work with water company and commercial partners to fully explore the viability of Insect bioconversion to help us manage this complex waste sustainably, safely and effectively.”