ESA title

Entocycle - Accelerating Insect-Based Protein Production

  • ACTIVITYFeasibility Study
  • STATUSCompleted
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture

Objectives of the service

The development of a smart factory for industrial scale production of insect-protein requires the integration of IoT systems that allow for the control and optimisation of the production lifecycle and the development of a fluid, automated process and infrastructure.

Users and their needs


  • Insect-protein producer


  • Monitoring, control and optimisation of production processes
  • Automation of production processes

Service/ system concept

Industrial scale insect-protein production through the development of a smart factory integrating automation, IoT infrastructure and environmental control. The integration of organic waste management and protein and fertiliser production through BSF rearing creates a much-needed circular economy system.

Space Added Value

Space technologies and assets identified within Human Spaceflight and Earth Observation applications allow to benefit from the interoperability of different IoT systems, creating a smart process.

Rigorous environmental conditions generated by ECLSS enhance the efficiency of critical subprocesses that involve insect-protein production.

Hyperspectral imaging cameras allow for real-time analytics and optimisation of environmental control for improved production. Nevertheless, the changes in the business model, relying in a more distributed approach for protein production, disregarded the need for the ECLSS. Other technologies, like IoT over satellite might be useful in the mid-to-long term once the production is up and running for optimisation purposes.


Current Status

The feasibility study has been completed and covered the following activities:

  • Customer Identification & Value Proposition Definition
  • Technical Feasibility Assessment
  • Viability Assessment
  • Proof of Concept

The main achievements were the following:

  • Definition of an innovative business model
  • Identification of space technologies (IoT Satellite Services) for the monitoring and control of a decentralised production model - to be explored further in the future

The business model defined did not foresee any immediate application of any space technology. However IoT over satellite, as well as two patents identified, will be explored in the future, after starting the commercial production process.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 05 December 2018