The Project

The most modern sugar factory in Europe

The CoBT aims to build and operate the most modern sugar factory in Europe in the heart of the best beet growing region in Europe. Scheduled to start in September 2023, the factory will have a processing capacity of 14,000 t of beet per day.

An ideal geographic location

The CoBT sugar factory will be located on the Seneffe site, 40 km south of Brussels, in the centre of its beet supply area, and close to many sugar users as well. It will have substantial logistical facilities, such as motorway and waterway access just one kilometre away, direct access to an industrial-grade natural gas pipeline on its property, a nearby railway line and a multimodal logistics platform for container transhipment (truck-train-barge) 10 km away.

Quality local supply

The 1,400 cooperative beet growers have already undertaken to supply  their cooperative with 1,625,000 t of beet annually, corresponding to 116 days of the sugar marketing year. 45 km away on average from the future sugar factory, the farms of these 1,400 suppliers are located in the best beet growing region in Europe in terms of quality (high and relatively constant yields) and quantity (high sugar extractability).

An efficient extraction process

The sugar is extracted from the beet by osmosis and then crystallized. The process is physical and does not require any chemical processing. The Seneffe sugar factory will be equipped with the most efficient tried and tested technologies in a fully integrated process for unprecedented optimization of energy consumption (more details here). In addition to sugar, all “by-products” are recovered, so the equation is virtually “zero waste”.

The process, design, construction and start-up of the sugar factory are the subject of a close partnership with the DSEC engineering company (more details here).

A cleaner sugar factory

While some sugar factories use coal, coke and anthracite, the Seneffe sugar factory will be powered by natural gas and biogas produced on site from beet washing waste.

The amount of energy consumed per tonne of sugar produced will be 45% lower than in the most efficient competing sugar factories.

In addition, beet pulp will be dried at very low cost, thanks to the recovery of calories “lost” in the sugar extraction process.

Large storage capacity

 CoBT will have a large storage capacity for sugar and dry pulp, which will enable it to operate its production on a run-of-river basis, thereby avoiding the need for expensive external storage capacity

Necessary authorizations granted

Up to 2017, the European sugar production was governed by quotas (=a fixed quantity at a fixed price). Since then, the European sugar market has been liberalized, so CoBT does not need authorization to produce sugar.

Furthermore, the single permit required for the construction and operation of the Seneffe sugar factory has been fully in effect since May 2019.