Recovering our raw materials and resources

We recover our raw material, sugar beet, by extracting the sugar and crystallizing it or fermenting it into alcohol and bioethanol.
In addition, and this is less well-known, on our industrial sites we also participate in the recovery of wheat, alfalfa and by-products from wine production or even some industrial solvents, always within the logic of the circular economy.

A raw material, sugar beet, and other very diverse products

Sugar beets can produce edible sugar of course, but that is not all.

For many years, Cristal Union has also produced alcohol for the Food and Drink, Manufacturing and Cosmetic industries.

More recently, the range has expanded even further into Baby Foods, Biofuel and, of course, the Pharmaceutical sector, with the production of alcohols for hydroalcohol gels for which we became European leader in 2020.

Diversification of supply to our industrial sites

Even if our activity primarily remains centered on our main raw material, sugar beet, our industrial sites have been able to broaden their supplies over the years.

Our distillery, Cristanol converts sugar substrates, whole wheat and residues from the neighboring starch industry and now produces alcohols of unparalleled purity to serve top spirit brands around the world.

At our Dislaub site, we are able to give used industrial solvents and alcohols new life by regenerating them.

Our distillery, Goyard collects by-products and residues from its local wine industry to convert them into materials with a high added value such as polyphenols, essential oils or potable alcohols.

These diversifications are possible because our factory facilities are adapted to operate in synergy with other sectors. Great circular-economy logic !

Bioethanol, a product of the future with a low environmental impact

Bioethanol is a fuel for the future, the environmental qualities of which have been demonstrated: bioethanol makes it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 60% and more than 95% compared to conventional fuels.

Cristal Union is the third largest European producer, and produces bioethanol from agricultural raw materials (sugar beet, wheat), residue from sugar refining at its own sites, but also residues such as marc and lees from wine production or starch residues from industrial sites.

100% of sugar-beet water reused!

Strongly committed to the logic of the circular economy, we take care to protect one of the most precious resources of all, water. At Cristal Union, we reuse 100% of the water contained in our sugar beets.

Sugar beets contain over 70% water!

Once viewed as a drawback, this property has now become an asset.
Since 2010, Cristal Union has invested considerably in its factory sites in order to reuse the water contained in sugar beets and thus reduce our need to draw water from the natural environment. Nowadays, sugar factories use the water they extract from their own raw material.

In this way, between 2010 and 2020 we reduced our need to draw water from the natural environment by 57%, meaning 5 million m3 of water have been saved per year.

Two stages of the sugar process use water: washing the sugar beets as they enter the factory and extracting the sugar from the sugar beet pulp.

Two stages of the sugar process produce water: the syrup process which purifies and dehydrates the sugary juice extracted from the beets and the crystallization of the syrup into white sugar.

The right balance has therefore been achieved by adjusting our facilities to do this. The water collected during the syrup and crystallization process is now reused for washing the sugar beets and extracting the sugar.

After the sugar beets have been processed, the excess water is stored in reservoirs adjacent to the sugar factories. Once decanted, it is used to irrigate the surrounding plots, thus rendering a great service to farmers in the summer period.

All of the water is reused and recovered, to the very last drop!