A Polish group is testing out a new factory concept that can provide a source of renewable energy, and even serve space missions

A company called HiProMine wants to turn insects into biofuel for anything from beauty products to substance for future space colonies. HiProMine created a prototype of the first insect-driven factory in August of 2015 in Robakowo, Poland. Here’s how it works: the factory gathers the waste produced from nearby meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable industries to feed bioreactors, each containing a different species of insects, including grasshoppers, locusts, mealworms and cockroaches.

Different insects can produce different types of biofuel, depending on an industry’s needs. For instance, the black soldier fly, a well-studied insect, can be manipulated to produce more protein or fat depending on what you feed it. The insects are contained in a large production hall–but if the idea of being amongst thousands of squirming creatures makes you anxious, not to worry: the whole factory requires only a few human personnel to operate. The rest of it can be done remotely, using AI.

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