P20422: Black Soldier Fly Composter Improvements

Subsystem Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test Phase

At the beginning of the phase the team planned on waiting a little to have all of our parts to begin building. From there we would begin the build process for the subsystems in tandem. Based on customer desire we had also set out a plan to set dates for getting the black soldier fly larvae and the food waste.

Throughout the phase we ended up gathering almost all of the final materials needed for the build. Even with minor set backs on delivery times and needing different materials, the team has assembled the frame for the composter. New research had been completed about a light to help with the breeding of the flies. We have continued to update our risks and problems from each phase as we move forward with the project.

Design Changes



BOM Updates

Snapshot of the BOM

Snapshot of the BOM

Link to the BOM spreadsheet here.

Build Progress

Subsystem: Frame

Liz Working on the Frame

Liz Working on the Frame

Completed* Frame

Completed* Frame

Subsystem: Hopper

public/Photo Gallery/hopperSBT.PNG

Subsystem: Frass Removal

public/Photo Gallery/fremovalSBT.PNG

Subsystem: Larvae Removal

public/Photo Gallery/lremovalSBT.PNG

BSF Research

BSF Breeding Light

Photoreceptors are specialized cells located in the retina, whose sole function is to convert light into a biological signal. The BSF has three photoreceptors, which are excited by ultraviolet light (300-400 nm), blue light (380-500 nm) and green light (500- 580nm). When exposed to the three lights BSF lays more eggs and becomes more active in general. The effects of the light were observed first hand in the lab. To increases, the number of larvae for the composter the BSF should be kept under UV, green and/or blue breeding light.

The type of light source is as important as the wavelength of the light. The most recommended light was halogen, which emits wavelengths from 650 nm to 950 nm. Halogen lights emit wavelengths outside of the visible spectrum in the form of heat; which is a safety hazard. The optimal light source for indoor breeding would be blue and green LED lights. LED lights can emit wavelengths from 360 nm to 950 nm well-remaining cool to the touch.

Larvae Ordering

The larva can eat up to half their weight a day. End goal 10lbs of food a day, want about 5lbs of the larva.

x= Total amount of larva

x=(50*Total Weight of Larva)/(Weight per 50 larvae)

Mean weight of larva = 0.14 +/- 0.02 g

10lbs x (453.593g/1 lbs) = 4535.93g

50(0.12g)=6g for 50 larva


x=37800 larva

Start with 5lbs of larva need 37800

Sources for Research

BSF Photoreceptors

Ideal wavelength for BSF breeding

Test Results Summary

Due to only the frame being completed by the end of the phase, only a few test plans could be evaluated.

All of the detailed measurements will be provided once we are closer to completion.

Risk and Problem Tracking

New risks are added when identified. Each risk's importance is rescored at the end of each phase when circumstances change their likelihood or severity. The following risks were identified in the Build & Test Prep phase:
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An updated Risk Table with all identified risks can be found using the following link: Updated Risk Table.

Problem Tracking

Updated Problem Tracking Worksheet:

Updated Schedule


Added tasks

Plans for next phase

Individual 3-Week Plans

Each team member provided their vision for the next phase(s) and how they plan to achieve it:

Nicholas Balcomb

Tara Marshall

Elizabeth Maeder

Samantha Porten

Grant Pearce

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