Ingredient manufacturer Beneo slashes carbon emissions at its Oreye facility by 40%

BELGIUM – Beneo, a functional ingredients manufacturer, has slashed specific carbon emissions by 40 percent at its Oreye facility in Belgium, which produces prebiotic natural chicory root fibers.

This achievement results from a 10-year, energy-saving program that closed with a €11 million (US$13 million) investment into increased energy efficiency.

As part of the investment, a new gas turbine and heat recovery boiler was installed at the Oreye facility. The system provides for Beneo’s own electricity production needs and enables the company to export an additional five megawatts to the public electric grid network each year.

This latest development marks an essential step for Beneo as it aims for carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We aimed to cut specific carbon emissions on-site and to date, we have achieved a total reduction of 40 percent, thanks to significant fuel efficiencies and yield gains.”

Philippe Dumont – Operations managing director, Beneo’s Oreye facility.

“The integration of the new gas turbine system into our existing steam and electricity production is an important part of the energy efficiency program,” says Philippe Dumont, operations managing director at Beneo’s Oreye facility.

“We aimed to cut specific carbon emissions on-site and to date, we have achieved a total reduction of 40 percent, thanks to significant fuel efficiencies and yield gains.”

Project planning for the system began in 2017. As well as the installation of new equipment, significant civil works had to be undertaken, including the dismantling of old sections of the building and the erection of a new steel structure in the heart of the factory to house the system.

Beneo’s functional ingredients, derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat, are positioned to improve a product’s nutritional and technological characteristics. Key nutritional benefits are fat, sugar and calorie reduction as well as added fiber and being gluten- and dairy-free.

This year, Beneo forecast that an estimated three-quarters of the population worldwide plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of the pandemic, potentially bolstering opportunity for the company’s functional ingredients. 

Turning its attention to the naturality space, the company also announced the expansion of its chicory root fiber and rice starch ingredient portfolio with two organic solutions: an organic waxy rice starch, Remyline O AX DR, and organic chicory root fiber, Orafti Organic.

The Oreye plant has used a gentle hot water extraction method to produce Beneo’s prebiotic chicory root fibers since 1992. The resulting dietary fibers – inulin and oligofructose – can be used in bakery, cereals, dairy, confectionery and infant food products.

The plant was founded in 1889 and functioned as a sugar beet refinery for more than 100 years. Beginning in the 1990s, a complete re-engineering program was implemented to turn the factory into a chicory based facility, supported by research on technological applications and the nutritional benefits of chicory fibers.

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