Cosun is making it easier for R&D professionals to collaborate with each other. We want to offer them every opportunity to get together and work with one another. Given the importance of R&D to the future of our group, an innovation centre has been developed with all the facilities researchers and developers need. It is located at the Nieuw Prinsenland agrofood cluster in West Brabant. Most of the businesses operating from this business park are engaged in the agrofood sector.
The Cosun innovation center offers flexible workplaces to more than a hundred R&D professionals and colleagues from other business groups. It also hosts the activities of Cosun Research & Development, Cosun New Business & Innovation, Cosun Biobased Products and the Institute for Rational Sugar Production (IRS), which has its own laboratory opposite the main building.
The innovation center has several laboratories (for analysis, product development, microbiology and non-food), a complete sensory research facility, 12 meeting rooms and a pilot factory. The pilot factory can handle production runs that are bigger than a laboratory can but smaller than a full-scale factory can.
All Cosun’s business groups work on innovation to improve their own products and processes. By working together we can achieve better results. The R&D professionals support the entire Cosun group by performing quality analyses, application development and process optimisation. Cosun R&D is increasingly being engaged to carry out innovation projects in close cooperation with the business groups. Many of these projects are part of the business groups’ multiyear innovation programmes. This is making higher demands on the R&D staff’s knowledge and expertise. Their broad outlook and ability to think in terms of concepts, however, make it easier for these highly qualified professionals to work with external knowledge institutions and this collaboration will be intensified.
The core business of New Business & Innovation, and therefore also of , is to identify and develop new applications for vegetable raw materials. By contributing to the group’s ambitions in this way, this unit makes Cosun’s processes and products more sustainable and strengthens the profitability of the operations with a view to the future.
New Business is working on several innovative projects that are at various stages of development. Some are still in an exploratory stage and need feasibility testing, others are already being brought to market. One of the latter is . The market’s interest in the functional properties of this product is increasing.
Together with potential customers and Cosun R&D, the business group is investigating how Betafib can be applied in its customers’ production processes. The product is interesting to manufacturers of detergents, paints and coatings, and adhesives, and to companies in the oil and gas industry.
Pulp2Value, a European collaborative project headed by Cosun Biobased Products, has entered its third year. The agreed activities, such as the demonstration plant for Betafib, progressed according to schedule. The project will run until 2019 with the aim of demonstrating that an integrated and profitable refinery system can be put in place for sugar beet pulp.