Lactalis inaugurates new whey drying tower at Verdun plant

After five years of work and an investment of €45 million, Lactalis Ingredients was able to inaugurate its new whey drying tower on its Verdun factory (France). The inauguration took place on 5 November 2021.

This new tower, equipped with the latest drying technologies, allows the production of 30,000 tonnes of whey powder intended for the food industry. It produces high fluidity sweet whey powder marketed under the Flowhey brand and manufactured through a technology designed by Lactalis Ingredients to optimise the drying of the whey.

According to Lactalis, the tower has benefited from the latest technical knowledge aimed to modernise and make more reliable the company’s drying process while minimising its impact on the environment.

The Verdun plant, which employs 140 people, now has an overall production capacity of 75,000 tonnes of whey products per year thus opening up new markets for Lactalis Ingredients. The very composition of the whey (80% lactose, 11% protein), coupled with an innovative technology, will allow Lactalis Ingredient to sell more whey powder in human nutrition (chocolate, dairy products, biscuits, processed cheeses, etc) while developing international positions.

Flowhey drying technology

This new technology aims to optimise the lactose crystallisation contained in the whey in order to avoid unstable forms that are more hygroscopic and risky to caking.

Flowhey High Fluidity powders is particularly advantageous in exports conditions known to be hot and humid – areas that often are critical for the storage of whey.

Its high fluidity characteristics also allow bags or big bags to be emptied two to three times faster than standard whey, while limiting the release of dust into the atmosphere in the workshops.

The Lactalis site at Verdun has long had a CSR programme in place, with a diverse approach based on pioneering technologies and human initiative. This approach includes:

  • Reduction of carbon impact from transportation: the concentration of liquid whey transferred to the Verdun site has been increased in order to reduce the number of tankers on the roads by nearly 15% over the last four years.
  • Reduction of water consumption at the Verdun site by 55% over the last 20 years. One of the key actions is the reuse of process water, amounting to 25% of total consumption at the site.
  • Reduction of atmospheric emissions by 96.7% over the last 20 years. Increase of energy production yields on various production facilities.
  • In collaboration with the Bordeaux company NewHeat, the largest solar thermal power plant for industrial use in Europe is going to be built next to the Verdun site in 2022. The hot water produced by this plant will reduce the site’s gas consumption by 10%. CO2 emissions will also be reduced by 2000T per year. Confirmation of this project has been possible thanks to the help of the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME).
  • In 2022, environmental efforts at the Lactalis site at Verdun will also take the form of enabling green mobility through the installation of charging stations for electric cars for staff and an electric bicycle charging station powered by photovoltaic panels.

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