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Learning in the pilot factory

Cosun has built a pilot factory to learn how to make better use of the residual flows from sugar beet and other agricultural raw materials. Ad de Laat, scientific consultant to Cosun R&D: 'We have thoroughly analysed all our residual flows and looked at what precisely is in them and now we are working out what new non-food applications we can make. We cannot yet give concrete figures on the economic and sustainability effects of such developments but we've embarked upon a promising search in the interests of our business and our beet growers, who are also our shareholders. The prospects justify such a serious investment.'
The construction of a pilot factory is a perfect match for Cosun's ambitions to make optimal use of biomass. The bio-refinery pilot factory simulates the production process of a large factory to make many products. 'We're also making large batches of product samples that customers are already asking for. We’re learning how we can improve the production process. Customers demand consistent quality so we have to regulate and steer the process very precisely. The cost is also important if we are going to develop this market,' say the process technologists at Cosun R&D and their internal clients at Cosun Biobased Products