Swiss billionaire company is counting on Vyncke to green the food sector

The Flemish family business Vyncke has teamed up with the Swiss Bühler, a global player in the food industry. The duo wants to help companies in the sector to drastically reduce their CO2 emissions.

Chances are you’ve never heard of Bühler. But in the food industry, the Swiss concern has a name like a clock. The company, with 12,500 employees in 140 countries, is the purveyor of machinery and technology to food processing companies. Bühler plays a role in feeding billions of people around the world.

Profile Vyncke

Harelbeek’s fourth-generation family business, founded by Louis Vyncke in 1912. The brothers Peter and Dieter Vyncke run the company.

Designs and builds industrial power plants that convert biomass waste and industrial process waste into green energy.

Has 370 employees in branches in Flanders, Brazil, Germany, the Czech Republic, China, Thailand and Malaysia.

In 2019, it achieved a turnover of 134 million euros and a profit before tax of 3.4 million euros.

A service that Bühler sees profitable in is the reduction of CO2 emissions and the energy bills of its customers. The Swiss look to Harelbeke for that mission. Together with the family business Vyncke, which builds installations to convert biomass into energy, Bühler wants to reduce emissions from new food processing plants by 50 percent.

To this end, the two enter into a large-scale strategic partnership that combines both strengths. With Bühler’s address book and sector knowledge and Vyncke’s technological know-how in your pocket, the collaboration should spark. “Many industries are already counting on us to reduce their fossil fuel consumption,” says CEO Peter Vyncke. “Together with Bühler, we want to become the standard in the food industry to reduce the CO2 footprint.”

“Bühler is the world market leader in many areas,” says Vincent Weyne, Vyncke’s sales director. But for its energy ambitions, Bühler realized it could use partnerships. That is what we are good at. Every three years, the company invites the entire food industry to Switzerland to exchange views. Two years ago we also received an invitation in the mail. This collaboration grew out of that. ‘

Useful waste

The basic idea behind the collaboration is that many food processing companies have an underused waste stream. Weyne: ‘About 20 percent of what a food company consumes, goes outside again after processing in the form of low-value residual flows. In some cases it can be processed in animal feed, but often it is simply transported or dumped. Why not start something useful with that? ‘

At the same time, these companies often generate their energy with fossil fuels. By replacing these with biomass plants, Bühler and Vyncke want to drastically reduce emissions in the sector. The duo is committed to the fact that, depending on the waste stream, their solution can reduce CO2 emissions by 20 to even 100 percent. ‘In some cases we can realize CO2-neutral food factories,’ says the press release about the deal.

Together with Bühler, we want to become the standard in the food industry.

The two companies are teaming up on a biomass power plant to power a malting plant in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo. “The energy audit we conducted there showed that we could reduce the energy requirement of the process by a third,” says Weyne. ‘For the other two-thirds we are building a biomass power station that produces the heat to dry the malt.’

The residual waste from the processed barley is used for this, supplemented with wood waste from nearby wood processing companies. That is to keep 35,000 tons of CO2 out of the air every year. A reduction that Bühler and Vyncke hope to achieve many times over in the coming years.

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