Cristal Union asserts its leading position in specialty alcohols in Europe, with ever more specialized products
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Cristal Union produces 6 million hectoliters of agricultural alcohol per year, in addition to its sugar activities. Half of the alcohol produced is classed “specialty”. Its uses are highly varied: perfumes, cosmetics, spirits, detergents and even pharmaceuticals.
Cristal Union produces 6 million hectoliters of agricultural alcohol per year, in addition to its sugar activities.
Half of the alcohol produced is classed “specialty”. Its uses are highly varied: perfumes, cosmetics, spirits, detergents and even pharmaceuticals.
The other half of the alcohol produced is used in the production of bioethanol, which is used as fuel.
As leader in specialty alcohols in Europe, Cristal Union is able to offer its customers over 400 product lines in custom-manufactured alcohols!
At its Dislaub site, Cristal Union is also developing operations in regeneration of residual alcohols, supporting a circular economy approach.
A rich and constantly-evolving range of alcohols
By combining expertise in various fields and various procedures, Cristal Union, via its commercial arm Cristalco, has been developing a full range of rectified alcohols for several years, derived from the fermentation and distillation of agricultural raw materials such as sugar beet, wheat, and wine substrates.
In total, no less than 400 product lines in specialty alcohols are produced by the Group, broken down across 3 major families to answer 3 major types of requirements:
Superfine alcohol, which meets very high requirements in terms of quality, purity and neutrality , is derived from rigorously-selected agricultural raw materials. This class of alcohol is notably used by the pharmaceutical industry. The superfine alcohol produced by Cristal Union is used in developing vaccines against COVID-19, hydroalcoholic gels and PCR tests. The quality of the products offered under the France Alcools® brand is equally attractive to perfumers, so some of the biggest “houses” source their supplies exclusively from the Group.
The superfine alcohol marketed by Cristal Union is particularly sought-after, because its odor is perfectly neutral. The state-of-the-art technology, developed in the Group’s distilleries, enables it to achieve a very high quality level by the filtration of all the impurities that arise in the distillation process. This alcohol is also very stable over time and is guaranteed natura, as certified by various ecolabels.
Rectified Extra-Neutral or REN alcohol, based on sugar beets. Used for food purposes, this alcohol is notable for its organoleptic qualities. It is made from agricultural materials with certified provenance, vital for securing some agri-food labels. It can also be used by industry for cleaning and disinfection purposes.
Regenerated alcohols are made from residual alcohols collected from industrial companies. A high-yield process allows these products to be regenerated, in order to achieve purity levels above 95%. Marketed under the name Ecocycol®, this range of alcohols contributing to the recycling of industrial wastes sits fully within an initiative for industrial ecology and sustainable development. Regenerated alcohols are used, for example, in making inks and windshield wash products.
Ernst Van Der Linden Alcohol Marketing Director at Cristalco
Demand for natural and sustainable high-quality specialty agricultural alcohols is growing fast. As a leader in specialty alcohols in Europe, Cristal Union is pursuing its development in this segment with an adapted and differentiated offer to respond to the increasingly specific requirements of its customers. The bonds of trust built up with players at the very highest level in sectors such as fine perfumery and spirits empower the launch of innovative concepts to accompany the strong growth in the product range, in the context of exclusive partnerships.
A modern and agile industrial tool
Customized manufacture of 400 different specialty alcohols demands major expertise and state-of-the-art techniques. With a sustained strong investment strategy for over 10 years, Cristal Union today offers four production sites with complementary expertise:
The Cristanol distillery, located in Bazancourt (51), is the most important Cristal Union production unit. Cristanol produces on average 1 million hectoliters of specialty alcohol per year, destined for the biggest global brands in cosmetics and spirits, and in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
The d’Arcis-sur-Aube distillery (10) is capable of simultaneously producing superfine alcohol, REN alcohol for the food sector, and bioethanol. Its total annual production is close to 2,000,000 hectoliters. In response to strong demand from customers for rectified alcohols, Cristal Union has invested in developing a new REN alcohol manufacturing plant, which went into service in February 2021.
The Dislaub distillery, located in the commune of Buchères (10), simultaneously produces agricultural alcohols and regenerated alcohols. Every year, 500,000 hectoliters of agricultural alcohol and 50,000 tons of regenerated alcohols and solvents are produced there. The Dislaub distillery also produces ethanol from wine by-products, such as the production waste originating from the local wine industry.
The Jean Goyard distillery, located at Aÿ in the Marne region, is a 100-year-old enterprise specializing in spirits (eaux-de-vie de Champagne, Ratafia champenois, etc.). The distillery mobilized intensively at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, producing large quantities of the pharmaceutical alcohol used in hydroalcoholic gels.
Focus on the production of regenerated alcohol at Dislaub:
The trend is towards recycling, and the Dislaub distillery has fully grasped this. The site recovers products from its customers that are not suitable for sale (alcohols and solvents), purifies them and renews them. It’s a tailored service known as “travail à façon” (“custom work”). In effect, the distillery processes waste from its customers and regenerates it through distillation to make it reusable. This type of service applies to various sectors such as chemicals, the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries, and also the paint and varnish sector.
Xavier Astolfi General Manager of Cristal Union
We are pursuing our investments over the coming years, in order to increase the performance of our distilleries. This positive dynamic of the Group contributes to the influence of the French and European industry. It also ensures production of a key resource on national territory.
The figures to bear in mind
European leader in specialty alcohols, with over 400 product lines
50% in the food and spirit drinks sector
50% for perfumery, cosmetics, hygiene, and other sectors
4th largest European producer of bioethanol
A green solution with 75% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to petrol…