Cargill is expanding its wheat processing operations in Barby, Germany, to include the production of bioethanol. The existing plant in Barby was built in 1994, and processes wheat into starches and sweeteners for food, pharmaceutical, board and paper customers.
The new investment will lead to the production of up to 1 million hectolitres (100,000 m3) of bioethanol per year. Construction is due to commence in autumn 2007, and production of bioethanol is expected to begin in spring 2009. Once operational, the investment will create about 20 additional jobs, raising the total number of employees at the site to about 160.
„By integrating the bioethanol plant into a starch processing facility, we will gain significant flexibility and will be able to maximise bioethanol production through optimal use of our feedstock,” says Frank Van Lierde, head of Cargill’s sweeteners business in Europe. „We will also benefit from economies of scale and leverage existing synergies at the location.” Located on the river Elbe in the „Magdeburger Börde” – one of the most fertile farming areas in the region – the Barby site has competitive raw material sources and can supply oil refineries throughout Germany and elsewhere in central and northern Europe.
The bioethanol investment will also offer an important new outlet for farmers in the region as the vast majority of wheat will be sourced locally. The biofuels market in the EU is expected to grow rapidly in the years to come. In Germany, the government has recently adopted national compulsory rates for incorporation of biofuels into petrol and diesel. In the last few years, Cargill has made important biofuels investments in Europe, and it has further plans for expansion in response to the increasing demand.
Renewable fuel blends are already being sold at petrol stations across the EU. Cargill will continue to supply its traditional food, feed and industrial starch customers from Barby and also from its other starches and sweeteners operations in the EU. „The biofuels industry is an extension of Cargill´s expertise in trading, origination, processing and transport of raw materials and finished products, where the emphasis lies on fulfilling market needs”, says Van Lierde. „This bioethanol investment in Barby will complement our Wroclaw (Poland) facility to enable us to better serve all our customers in central Europe. „ (petrolplaza.com)