AuthorCernich, Brett Aiden
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe objective of this project is to optimize and upscale an industrial process to chemically extract protein from mealworms and incorporate it into protein bars. The rationale is to offer a more environmentally sustainable protein source which will also provide a solution to the growing global food crisis. Current insect products on the market use primarily ground up insect flour as an additive, so we chose to explore the up-and-coming chemical extraction method. Based on a process found in researched literature, we ran lab experiments to optimize certain process parameters including concentrations, ratio of chemicals, incubation temperature, incubation time, and number of iterations. Then, using the optimal conditions from experimentation, we upscaled an industrial process to produce the protein bar product with a target output of two million bars annually. The process was split into four distinct loops: the comminution loop, the defatting loop, the protein extraction loop, and the bar-making loop. Mass balances were performed to reach the production goal and each piece of equipment was sized accordingly. Finally, analyses of utility consumption, energy requirements, environmental impact, safety hazards, and economic feasibility were performed about the process. Overall, the process is able to output two million bars per year with 18.4 g of protein per bar, with the production plant being profitable in the span of eight years.
Degree ProgramChemical Engineering