Suiker Unie to produce protein from plant leaves

Suiker Unie officially took its Green Protein Demo Plant into operation on 10 October and started producing protein from sugar beet foliage. The production process is a unique, pioneering method that Suiker Unie can use under an exclusive license. The first 100 kg of protein will be produced this year.

Plant protein sources will be essential to produce enough proteins to feed the growing world population in the future. With the demo plant, Suiker Unie has taken an important step to contribute to this protein transition.

Green plant leaves contain between 1% and 3% protein. A new process developed and patented by TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, makes it possible to extract the protein. Royal Cosun, Suiker Unie’s parent company, has obtained the exclusive licence to use the patent.

The Green Protein Demo Plant will extract protein from sugar beet foliage, and later also from other plant leaves. Every hectare of sugar beet produces between 20 and 30 tonnes of leaves. This amount of foliage is good for between 180 and 280 kg of high quality protein. “A dark green juice is extracted from the leaves that we can refine and dry in a series of steps to produce a colourless, flavourless and odourless protein powder,” explains Paulus Kosters, Senior Protein Programme Manager at Cosun. “The food industry can use this functional plant protein in countless applications, including meat substitutes, cakes, meringues, beverages, sauces and desserts. Our ambition now that the demo plant is up and running is to take the first large-scale production line into operation by 2022.”

Pioneer

The Green Protein Demo Plant is part of a strategic programme launched by Cosun to produce plant proteins. “We want to be a pioneer in this field,” says Frank van Noord, Innovation Director. “We have always worked to get the maximum value out of our crops. Our open innovation centre for alternative proteins, which Cosun has opened at Nieuw Prinsenland in Dinteloord, is a perfect example of this and we are inviting other parties to join us in the protein transition.”

Share this message

Other articles

05 November 2019

Major international challenge for green solutions in the chemical and energy sectors

In collaboration with its partners in the north of the Netherlands, Economic Board Groningen is organising an international pitch event for innovative scale-ups in the green chemical, recycling and green...
11 October 2019

Suiker Unie wins 2019 FNLI award

Suiker Unie won the 2019 FNLI award on 10 October. The Dutch Food Industry Federation (FNLI) introduced the award this year for people or teams that go to extraordinary lengths to raise innovative initiatives...
06 September 2019

Early but staggered start to the beet campaign

The sugar beet campaign will have a staggered start this year. The sugar factories will start production on 6 September in Dinteloord and on 10 September in Anklam and Groningen. Logistically, a staggered...
02 September 2019

Suiker Unie awarded EcoVadis gold rating for fifth year in succession

EcoVadis has again awarded Suiker Unie a gold rating. We are extremely proud that our commitment to sustainability has been recognised for the fifth year in succession and crowned with a gold rating for...
18 April 2019

Furthering sustainability together with Green Circles

A beautiful location and sunny day provided a perfect start for the ‘Green Circles’ sugar beet circular economy. On 18 April 2019, Suiker Unie, the province of North Brabant, and Naturalis...
14 February 2019

New bulk trucks running entirely on Suiker Unie’s own green gas

Technical advances recently made it possible to have gas-fuelled trucks transport train weights of up to 50 tonnes. The 410 hp tractor units will make Suiker Unie’s bulk transport operations even...
22 January 2019

First consumer products launched with Betafib®

‘Royal COSUN Biobased Products’, part of Suiker Unie, introduced 100% bio-based rheology modifier, developed during PULP2VALUE demonstration project, for various consumer applications such...
06 July 2018

Unveiling of the world’s first completely circular car

On Friday 6 July, Noah, the world's first completely circular car, was unveiled at the Cosun Innovation Centre in Dinteloord. The two-seater car, the chassis of which is largely made of sugar and the...