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Purifying the future with green chemistry

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Eurodia provides a range of customized solutions incorporating electrodialysis, chromatography, ion exchange systems and membrane filtration for liquid processing in four key fields of application. The company’s largest market, forming between 40 and 45% of its turnover, is milk and cheese production, where it has patented systems for the fractionation and recovery of whey.

“We are the global market leader in the recovery of the co-products of the cheese industry,” says Founder and President Bernard Gillery. “Around 70% of the demineralized whey in baby food is made using our processes. Renowned manufacturers such as Nestlé and Dairy Gold as well as Hochwald and Alpavit use our systems.”

The company is also the world leader in wine stabilization technology, which accounts for 20 to 25% of turnover. Substractive technologies remove crystal-building substances from the wine to guarantee its stability.

“Traditional methods use additives to achieve this,” continues Mr. Gillery. “In contrast, our processes remove the destabilizing molecules. We are currently the only company in the market able to do this.”

The sugar and starch industry is also an important customer group, where Eurodia offers solutions for the purification and separation of liquid substances. Although still a relatively small business area, accounting currently for around 10% of turnover, ‘green chemistry’ – biotechnology and sustainable chemistry – has enormous potential and forms the basis of Eurodia’s philosophy when it comes to the environment.

Green chemistry involves the use of raw materials such as sugar extract and waste from the paper and wood industries to produce renewable energy as a replacement for oil and gas, as well as providing the chemical basis for bio-textiles, plastics and detergents.

“At the moment oil prices are relatively low, and big industry still uses mainly fossil fuels,” says Mr. Gillery. “However, prices will eventually rise as supplies run low, and we are already developing realistic alternatives through renewable energy and raw materials. All our processes are rated as environmentally friendly in terms of impact, CO2 footprint, energy consumption and emissions.”

Strong focus and huge investment in research and development – 15% of the annual budget is allocated to this activity – have secured the number one position in the market for Eurodia. The company has a staff of 72, nine of whom are fully engaged in R&D.

It also finances specific projects undertaken by science faculties at universities around the world. “The secret of our success is that we invest our relatively modest resources in very precisely defined areas of application, those of whey, wine and sugar,” the President notes. “For example, fresh coconut water is a growing trend in North America and Europe. We have developed the technology to preserve the purity and characteristics of the product without the need to add preservatives. At the moment this is unique, but of course, in time others will follow. This is normal, but it keeps us on our toes. We thrive on challenge.”

Exports form 85% of turnover, with the cheese-producing countries of Europe accounting for the largest proportion. Eurodia is also active in Brazil, where it has set up a local office, and Russia, where it has a representative office, Eurodia Kuban.

Another subsidiary, Ameridia based in New Jersey, serves North America and has recently opened a branch in California to focus on the wine sector. “With these locations we cover a relatively large area,” explains Mr. Gillery. “Where we don’t have a direct presence, we work closely with local partners.”

The company believes that green chemistry will prove one of the most important developments for the future. “We also have an interest in hydro-metallurgy,” concludes Mr. Gillery. “As electric cars become more popular, more lithium will need to be mined and extracted. Naturally, we are already working on the solution.”

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