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Insects are a natural food source: They are packed with protein and calcium, low in fat, and offer a cheaper option to farming livestock. Compared to most animals used for food, these cold-blooded creatures spend less energy and nutrients, reproduce faster and in higher quantities, and—if farmed—would emit fewer greenhouse gasses. But bugs also conjure up the image of revolting roach patties and creepy-crawly mealworm larvae. The EU hasn't discussed which particular critters it's looking to fry up, and food producers who take up the cause will probably stay cagey on the secret ingredient—according to the Daily Mail, experts believe that insects will likely be used in food additives under the guise of “animal-based proteins.”
This system lives just below ground, a block off Washington Square Park, underneath a pleasant walkway spotted with local grasses and benches. If you sit and listen quietly, you can hear the noise of the turbines spinning at 13,000 revolutions per minute below. Once, the university created energy in this spot by burning oil. In that plant, you could smell the diesel exhaust fumes, Merrihue, the plant manager, tells me. But this new plant, which opened in 2011, starts by burning natural gas, which produces less air pollution and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. After that fuel produces electricity, the plant takes the leftover energy and uses it over and over again. "That's what gets us the efficiency”—almost 90 percent, says Merrihue. The hot exhaust from two gas-fired turbines fuels a steam turbine, which produces additional electricity. The leftover steam travels to a hot water heat exchanger and then to a chiller, where the last bit of energy is used to cool a 2400-gallon tank of water down to 45 degrees.