Lactalis inaugurates new whey drying tower in Verdun

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Lactalis' Verdun site in northeast France. Pic: Lactalis
Lactalis' Verdun site in northeast France. Pic: Lactalis

Related tags: Lactalis, Whey

Lactalis has inaugurated its new €45m ($50.9m) whey-drying tower at its Verdun factory in northeast France.

The inauguration marks the conclusion of five years of modernization work at the facility.

The new tower, equipped with the latest drying technologies, will allow for the production of 30,000T of whey powder for the food industry. It produces high fluidity sweet whey powder marketed under Flowhey brand and is manufactured through a technology designed by Lactalis Ingredients to optimize the drying of the whey.

The Verdun plant, which employs 140 people, now has an overall production capacity of 75,000 tons of whey products per year, opening up new markets for Lactalis Ingredients.

The composition of the whey (80% lactose, 11% protein), coupled with an innovative technology, will allow Lactalis Ingredients to sell more whey powder for human nutrition (chocolate, dairy products, biscuits, processed cheeses, etc.) and develop international sales.

Its Flowhey technology aims to optimize the lactose crystallization contained in the whey in order to avoid unstable forms that are more hygroscopic and risky to cake.

The company said its Flowhey High Fluidity powders are particularly useful storage-wise in conditions known to be hot and humid areas. 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.

In 2022, environmental efforts at the Lactalis Verdun site will see the installation of charging stations for electric cars for staff and an electric bicycle charging station powered by photovoltaic panels.

In collaboration with the Bordeaux company NewHeat, the largest solar thermal powerplant for industrial use in Europe is going to be built next to the Verdun site in 2022. The hot water produced will reduce the site's gas consumption by 10%. CO2 emissions will also be reduced by 2,000T per year. The project has been made possible with the help of the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME).

Lactalis said the concentration of liquid whey transferred to the Verdun site has been increased to reduce the number of tankers on the roads by nearly 15% over the last four years, and there has been a reduction in water consumption at the Verdun site by 55% over the last 20 years.

The company added it has reduced atmospheric emissions by 96.7% over the last 20 years.

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