AGRANA launches production of crystalline betaine at € 40 million plant in TullnDate: 05.10.2020
The fruit, starch and sugar group AGRANA commences production of crystalline betaine at its Tulln site. The construction of the new betaine crystallisation plant directly next to the sugar refinery is being undertaken by Beta Pura GmbH, a joint venture between AGRANA and US-based “The Amalgamated Sugar Company”. The financing of the new plant, which took 15 months to build, entailed the investment of around € 40 million. AGRANA has been processing the sugar beet molasses obtained during the production of sugar at its Tulln site to make liquid betaine concentrate since 2015. The new plant, with a production capacity of around 8,500 metric tons of crystalline betaine per year, makes Tulln only the third manufacturing site worldwide where natural crystalline betaine is produced.
“We are delighted to announce the operational start of the betaine crystallisation plant under this joint venture. Despite several challenges during the construction phase as a result of COVID-19, we were able to complete the building work in August and to now start production. We look forward to now offering our customers in the cosmetics, food and animal feed sectors top quality crystalline betaine,” explain the CEOs of AGRANA and Amalgamated Sugar, Johann Marihart and John McCreedy respectively. The largest sales markets for natural crystalline betaine are located in Asia, Australia and the Arabian region.
The natural substance betaine, found in sugar beet molasses, is characterised by numerous positive characteristics and can be used in many applications. From a scientific perspective, betaine is a methyl donor with osmoregulatory properties, aids the liver to process fats, and biologically degrades the amino acid homocysteine, which can damage blood vessels when in high concentrations.
Betaine is used not only in food supplements or sport drinks to promote muscle development, but also in livestock rearing as a component in animal feeds. Due to its osmoregulatory properties at a cellular level, betaine is also used in cosmetic products. In surfactants and detergent substances (e.g. shampoos and conditioners), betaine acts to stabilise the formation of foam and also conditions and strengthens hair slightly.
AGRANA converts agricultural raw materials into high-quality foods and numerous industrial intermediate products. Around 9,400 employees at 56 production sites worldwide generate annual Group revenue of approximately € 2.5 billion. Established in 1988, the company is the world’s market leader in fruit preparations and the leading producer of fruit juice concentrates in Europe. In addition, its Starch segment is also a major manufacturer of custom starch products and bioethanol. AGRANA is also the leading sugar producer in Central and Eastern Europe.
About Amalgamated Sugar
Amalgamated Sugar is the second-largest sugar beet producer in the USA, with a cooperative-based sugar beet acreage of around 73,000 hectares in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Besides the production of around one million tonnes of sugar, Amalgamated Sugar also produces and sells animal feed. The company is the global leader in the technology for extracting crystalline betaine from sugar beet molasses.