€ 100 million investment: AGRANA opens second wheat starch plant at site in Pischelsdorf (Lower Austria)Date: 25.11.2019
The fruit, starch and sugar group AGRANA has constructed a second wheat starch processing plant at the site of its biorefinery in Pischelsdorf, in the Tullnerfeld region, which was ceremoniously opened today by the provincial governor of Lower Austria, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, and its Supervisory Board Chairman Erwin Hameseder. By means of this expansion project, AGRANA is effectively doubling its wheat starch production capacity and increasing the number of jobs by 45 to a total of 250.
“After already investing € 200 million in the bioethanol plant and the first wheat starch production facility, we have now invested a further € 100 million in this second wheat starch processing plant. By doing so, AGRANA is responding to rising demand, particularly from the paper industry as a result of the growing need for packaging materials in connection with the online mail order segment. The increase in the overall processing capacity, from around 800,000 tonnes at present to 1.2 million tonnes of wheat, means that Pischelsdorf is taking on a leading position among large European starch production sites,” highlights AGRANA CEO Johann Marihart.
The expanded wheat starch facility will annually process around 650,000 tonnes of wheat to produce 260,000 tonnes of wheat starch, 50,000 tonnes of wheat gluten, 100,000 tonnes of wheat gluten feed and 35,000 tonnes of wheat bran. Wheat starch is used, on the one hand, in a variety of technical applications (particularly in the paper industry) and, on the other, in the food industry, e.g. in the production of noodles, bread and other bakery products. Wheat gluten is mainly employed in the bakery products sector or in the manufacture of pet food products as well as in fish food. Like wheat gluten feed, wheat bran is also used as animal feed. As a whole, AGRANA processes the commodities corn, potatoes and wheat to make starches at five production sites in Europe and sells 1.8 million tonnes of starch-based products to 2,000 customers worldwide operating in over 20 different sectors.
The Pischelsdorf site also houses a bioethanol facility in addition to its wheat starch plant. The close integration of both plants enables the cereals processed to be utilised to an extent of 100%. After extracting wheat starch and gluten, the remaining unutilised fractions of the raw materials are used in the production of bioethanol and the GMO-free, protein-rich animal feed ActiProt. This product substitutes approximately 200,000 tonnes of the EU’s annual imports of genetically-modified soya grits from overseas. Taking into account the high-purity CO2, which is extracted from the fermentation tanks of the bioethanol plant and liquefied by the industrial gas company Air Liquide, several top-quality products are manufactured from a single commodity. “We are proud of the biorefinery concept we have implemented here in Pischelsdorf. In the interests of a bio- and a circle economy, all the components of the cereals are used efficiently here. Pischelsdorf is without doubt a paragon of total resource utilisation and a shining example of a practically closed business cycle,” Marihart adds.
AGRANA converts agricultural raw materials into high-quality foods and numerous industrial intermediate products. Around 9,600 employees at 57 production sites worldwide generate annual Group revenue of approximately € 2.4 billion. Established in 1988, the company is the world’s market leader in fruit preparations and the leading producer of fruit juice concentrates in Europe. In addition, its Starch segment is also a major manufacturer of custom starch products and bioethanol. AGRANA is also the leading sugar producer in Central and Eastern Europe.