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15.01.2024 Energy Recovery Center at Bühler HQ - up and running

Bühler’s Energy Recovery Center (ERC), built in partnership with Belgium company Vyncke, is fully operational and ready for customer trials. Officially opened in November, the facility provides heating for Bühler offices in Uzwil by using biomass generated at its application and training centers. Moreover, the ERC works as a platform for customers to explore the potential of using side streams through energy recovery, which can lead to the reduction of their carbon footprint, waste, and energy costs.

The ERC combines Bühler’s expertise on biomass fine grinding and preparation (leading to the most optimum fuel) with Vyncke’s combustion knowledge and the latest technology (optimizing the energy yield), resulting in an integrated and cost-efficient energy solution. Vyncke installed its red-walled boiler at Bühler’s site. This is also the first time that the technology of multi-staged pyro gasification turbix combustion for agricultural fuels is used. The fuel injection system combined with the injection of the primary and secondary combustion air will lead to better combustion, and therefore, lower emissions.

The plant has two purposes. The first objective is the management and generation of sustainable energy. The ERC will be fed by various side streams generated by the application and training centres in Uzwil. This fully integrated solution will go on to process the fuel, generate hot water, and send this energy back to heat the buildings.

The second function is to test the biomass side streams from the processes of Bühler’s global customer base. The side streams that will be tested in the centre cover a broad range of materials including wheat bran, rice husks, and cocoa shells. The by-products will be combusted either individually or in a mixture with a test and learn approach. The ERC is scientifically supported by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) to evaluate research and development (R&D) results and further applications of boiler ash (i.e., as fertilizer or building material production).

This platform is a demonstration of how businesses can give value to their by-products and explore ways to reduce the carbon footprint in the food industry. Guided by the ongoing sustainable transformation, this is a unique, one-stop research facility to test all types of side streams coming out of food and agriculture processes.

(Top) Vyncke installed its red-walled boiler at Bühler’s site.

(Second) At the heart of this technology-driven centre is the mission to provide the industry with a high-efficiency and low-emission solution that contributes to a sustainable future.

(Third) The side streams that will be tested in the Energy Recovery Center cover a broad range of materials including wheat bran, rice husks and cocoa shells.

(Fourth) Peter Vyncke, owner of Vyncke

(Fifth) Johannes Wick, CEO of Grains & Food at Bühler

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