Producing xylitol from oat hulls that are left over from milling process, increasing the value of industrial side streams.
A Finnish food company Fazer has initiated a production line utilising the sidestreams of its oat mill. The process uses new, patented technology to produce xylitol from oat hulls, generated in large amounts in the milling process. Until now, the hulls have been used as fuel in energy production or as feed. The new process maximises resource utilisation by using all parts of oat. Oat hulls contain xylose that can be used to manufacture xylitol. The new xylitol manufacture plant is located next to the oat mill, which minimises the need for transport. Building the factory has started and production is planned to begin in 2020.
This practice represents an outstanding innovation of modern bio-based circular economy. It introduces a value-added product, exploiting process residue material that used to be processed to energy. Fazer has also reached a comprehensive sustainability approach and the company commits to various sustainability goals ranging from sustainable grain farming to minimising energy use and waste production.
Fazer is a large Finnish food company specialised in bakery and confectionery products. The company also offers milling and food services. Fazer Mills is the biggest mill in Finland, and its production is located in the City of Lahti. This practice further emphasise Päijät-Häme region's bio-based circular economy solutions. Fazer Lahti Bakery and Mills are part of the Grain Cluster, which is also defined as a Good Practice by the BIOREGIO project.
The value of the investment is 40 M Euros, and it generates 30 new jobs.
Evidence of success
The production process has been successfully tested in a trial factory. The xylitol plant will be the world’s first xylitol factory acquiring its raw material from the company’s own processes. The new production process adds the value of milling residues, ending up in a material that can be used in various products: xylitol can be used not only as chewing gum ingredient or sweetener but also in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice sets an interesting example of innovation that minimises resource use and turns a bio-based sidestream into valuable and versatile material. The practice represents a patented technology.