BioWanze: vegetarians say thank you (in pictures) - Companies

BioWanze: vegetarians say thank you (in pictures) – Companies

No less than 59% of Europeans eat a meal without meat from time to time. To feed these flexitarians, you always need more sausages and veggie burgers. In addition to bioethanol, which is used as fuel, BioWanze manufactures Gluten, made up of the plant proteins needed to make these meat substitutes.

A “green” company for “green” products

BioWanze was created in 2009 in Wanze to produce “green” fuel and animal feed from Belgian cereals. A subsidiary of CropEnergies, itself a subsidiary of the German sugar group Südzucker, it is the largest bioethanol production site in Belgium. To develop the recipe for Gluten, which is a co-product of bioethanol, and to market it, BioWanze has teamed up with Beneo, another Belgian subsidiary of Südzucker, specializing in so-called “functional” ingredients for human and animal nutrition, manufactured from sugar beet, chicory, rice or wheat.

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In 2019, BioWanze’s turnover reached 261 million euros and its profit 41.8 million. In 10 years, Südzucker and the Walloon authorities have invested 370 million euros in the Wanze site. Several entities are currently active there. They produce electricity and green energy, 300,000 m3 of bioethanol as well as animal feed and vegetable proteins, including gluten. Excess fiber is applied to fields as biological soil nutrients.

“The BioWanze site has a circular operation, it does not generate waste, says director André Tonneaux. Among our other projects: detergents for ecological soap and alcohol-free shaving foam. Some 50 million euros will be most likely invested in BioWanze over the next 10 years. We aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.”

1. European wheat Based in Wanze, near Huy, BioWanze is very proud of its factory, which operates with near-energy sufficiency.  Here, sustainability is not an empty word: it is not Brazilian soy that is used as a raw material to produce bioethanol and its co-products (including Gluten) but wheat from the European Union and transported by boat and truck.  And half of this wheat is produced in Belgium., Wouter Rawoens
1. European wheat Based in Wanze, near Huy, BioWanze is very proud of its factory, which operates with near-energy sufficiency. Here, sustainability is not an empty word: it is not Brazilian soy that is used as a raw material to produce bioethanol and its co-products (including Gluten) but wheat from the European Union and transported by boat and truck. And half of this wheat is produced in Belgium. © Wouter Rawoens
2. Milling Wheat is ground to obtain flour.  The mill has seven levels and many mills.  This marks the start of the production of bioethanol and its co-products.  Bioethanol, an alternative to fossil fuels, is actually produced by the fermentation of biomass (here wheat) which contains sugar and starch., Wouter Rawoens
2. Milling Wheat is ground to obtain flour. The mill has seven levels and many mills. This marks the start of the production of bioethanol and its co-products. Bioethanol, an alternative to fossil fuels, is actually produced by the fermentation of biomass (here wheat) which contains sugar and starch. © Wouter Rawoens
3. Gluten separation At the start of the bioethanol manufacturing process, after the milling stage, the proteins are extracted from the flour.  A part of these proteins is soluble, the other insoluble.  It is this last fraction, known as gluten, which is extracted.  The separation of gluten begins with the mixing of flour and water to obtain a dough.  Thanks to high-pressure pumps, it is moved very quickly in order to charge it with as much energy as possible.  The result is a particularly elastic structure.  The centrifuge removes the starch.  The remaining gluten is dried., Wouter Rawoens
3. Gluten separation At the start of the bioethanol manufacturing process, after the milling stage, the proteins are extracted from the flour. A part of these proteins is soluble, the other insoluble. It is this last fraction, known as gluten, which is extracted. The separation of gluten begins with the mixing of flour and water to obtain a dough. Thanks to high-pressure pumps, it is moved very quickly in order to charge it with as much energy as possible. The result is a particularly elastic structure. The centrifuge removes the starch. The remaining gluten is dried. © Wouter Rawoens
4. Textured Proteins The heart of the textured protein production process is a four meter stainless steel tube.  It can be started in 30 minutes: heating, adjusting the pressure, setting the right texture and following the rules of hygiene.  The first production is used to make animal feed, another co-product of bioethanol.  Nothing is wasted, Wouter Rawoens
4. Textured Proteins The heart of the textured protein production process is a four meter stainless steel tube. It can be started in 30 minutes: heating, adjusting the pressure, setting the right texture and following the rules of hygiene. The first production is used to make animal feed, another co-product of bioethanol. Nothing is lost. © Wouter Rawoens
5. The protein mixture Once the production equipment has been adjusted, gluten and flour are mixed to form a protein mixture suitable for human consumption.  Water is added during the mixing process.  The mixture is heated and pressurized., Wouter Rawoens
5. The protein mixture Once the production equipment has been adjusted, gluten and flour are mixed to form a protein mixture suitable for human consumption. Water is added during the mixing process. The mixture is heated and pressurized. © Wouter Rawoens
5. The protein mixture Once the production equipment has been adjusted, gluten and flour are mixed to form a protein mixture suitable for human consumption.  Water is added during the mixing process.  The mixture is heated and pressurized., Wouter Rawoens
5. The protein mixture Once the production equipment has been adjusted, gluten and flour are mixed to form a protein mixture suitable for human consumption. Water is added during the mixing process. The mixture is heated and pressurized. © Wouter Rawoens
6. Small flakes Pressure forces the hot dough through small holes and small rotating knives cutting the product into pieces.  Evaporation of water creates small flakes.  These dried flakes contain at least 65% protein., Wouter Rawoens
6. Small flakes Pressure forces the hot dough through small holes and small rotating knives cutting the product into pieces. Evaporation of water creates small flakes. These dried flakes contain at least 65% protein. © Wouter Rawoens
7. Packaging The finished product is packaged in bags of flour.  It is then shipped to European producers of lasagna, sausages, tripe and other vegetarian burgers.  It will then be necessary to add water before being able to give it the desired shape: two grams per gram of flakes.  After 10 to 15 minutes, the texture resembles that of mince.  One day's production makes 1 million veggie burgers., Wouter Rawoens
7. Packaging The finished product is packaged in bags of flour. It is then shipped to European producers of lasagna, sausages, tripe and other vegetarian burgers. It will then be necessary to add water before being able to give it the desired shape: two grams per gram of flakes. After 10 to 15 minutes, the texture resembles that of mince. One day’s production makes it possible to make 1 million vegetarian burgers. © Wouter Rawoens

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