Current methods of livestock farming are having a significant environmental impact on the planet, leaving a large carbon footprint and producing almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. BeoBia is aiming to tackle this through sustainable insect farming.
“I began work on the BeoBia concept while I was a student, developing it as my final year project. I was encouraged by the response to it, being shortlisted as having the most commercial viability.
During his research, Thomas found:
“There are almost 2,000 edible insect species that have high nutritional values. Mealworms, for example, are over 54% protein. They contain all 9 essential amino acids and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants.”
BeoBia’s flagship product, Re_, is a set of five modular stackable trays made from fully recycled bioplastics. They produce between 100-300g of mealworms per harvest.
The mealworms are natural composters. You can feed them your fruit and vegetable waste, meaning this is an inexpensive way of growing your own protein. Compared with conventional meat production, this produces fewer greenhouse gases and uses less space, water and feed.
Whilst Thomas was developing his product, he successfully applied to join the Studio, the graduate programme of LU Inc. The University’s business incubator unites its graduate and academic entrepreneurs with founders from across the region and beyond to create a rich, vibrant and supportive start-up community on LUSEP, the University’s Science and Enterprise Park.
The Studio also provides access to the resources, facilities, expertise and knowledge to help Loughborough graduates develop sustainable businesses.
The alumnus said:
“Being part of the Studio has really given me the time and space to develop BeoBia. As well as securing funding, I’ve received excellent business mentoring and useful industry links.
“Based on my experience, if you’re a current student or recent graduate with a business idea, I’d highly recommend the Studio. It’s a supportive environment to turn your business idea into reality. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for the Studio, and all the benefits it offers, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today.”
BeoBia is launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund further market validation. Following this, supporters around the world will receive either a Re_, Re_Mini (one tray), or Re_Plus (10 trays) at 40% below the retail price.
Thomas graduated with a degree in Industrial Design and Technology in 2018.