Better for oceans and climate?
Ava Labuzetta, a senior pollution prevention engineer at NYSP2I and the project’s lead, is excited about the potential of innovations like River Road’s for not only diverting uneaten food but also creating jobs and economic growth at the local level.
“Our goal is to help original, much-needed innovations like this one get to market quickly,” Labuzetta said. “By giving companies like River Road the information and analysis they need, we can take big steps towards a clean economy for New York State that really works.”
Labuzetta and her team chose to compare River Road’s product to Peruvian fishmeal, a wild-caught protein feed with a lower GHG footprint than other varieties. It was used to calculate a baseline of energy and GHG impacts that the fly-protein alternative could be compared against.
For the next step, NYSP2I performed a high-level comparison, known as a GHG emissions reduction potential analysis, between River Road’s protein meal and the Peruvian fishmeal. The analysis was calculated based on information and claims that River Road provided to the NYSP2I team. [An emissions potential analysis is useful as a first step for estimating emissions. In many cases, it can set the stage for a more in-depth, peer-reviewed impact study, such as a life cycle assessment (LCA).] NYSP2I’s analysis focused on two phases in the life cycle of the fishmeal and River Road products that are likely to be the most impactful in terms of energy use: raw material extraction (i.e., anchovies versus black soldier fly larvae) and production (i.e., how the fish or larvae are turned into meal).
Ultimately, NYSP2I estimated that River Road’s protein meal—on its own—could offset 6.5 metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per MT produced. Compared to Peruvian fishmeal production, this number rises to 7 MT of CO2e per MT. The sustainability advantage of River Road’s product over the Peruvian, the NYSP2I study found, comes down to the volume of wasted food kept out of landfills. Two other key drivers are the inherent efficiencies of insect-rearing and the low energy draw of the technology used to make the protein meal