Chernihiv to be the largest potato starch production hub in Eastern Europe and in the CIS

The new plant is being built with the technical facilitation of the Danish-based company SiccaDania and will become one of the most state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe.

Chernihiv, the Heart of Polesia, according to experts, becomes the potato processing hub. There are already two starch factories operating in the region, and in September 2018, the third one will be taken into operation. The new plant is being built with the technical facilitation of the Danish-based company SiccaDania and will become one of the most state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Europe.

Mr. S.V. Samonenko, Director of PPCE VIMAL, says:

Our enterprise has more than twenty years’ experience in producing potato starch. Over these years, we have continuously improved the quality of our products, have formed a civilised potato starch market in Ukraine and raised the purchase price for potato producers to a level that exceeds the prices all over Europe. In summer of 2018, we shall put a new production facility into operation in order to meet the needs of our customers, as well as to implement a deep potato processing project. We are convinced that the future of the Ukrainian potato industry is in the deep processing of potatoes.

Thus, the launch of the new starch processing plant alone will increase the total revenues of potato producers in Ukraine more than tenfold, and the further ambitions for the production of potato protein and food fibres will allow to deepen the processing of potatoes and obtain products with even greater value-added, both for raw potato producers the participants of the project, as well as for the company.

Mr E.V. Rebenok, Head of the R&D Department of PPCE VIMAL, says:

VIMAL started its potato processing operations in 1994 with a GU-50 hydrocyclones unit made in Russia by GUP ”Korenevskij Eksperimentalnyj Zavod”.

The equipment was not perfect, but we strove for perfection and our ambition was to position our products as the best in the world. In 2001, when I was a young chemist, I began to work for the company and realised that our starch was not the best and we would have to go a long way in order to manufacture products that were going to meet the customers´ requirements.

Since we supply our products to food manufacturers, we began to seriously work on microbiology, viscosity, colour, ash content and the temperature of gelatinisation – in other words, the key indicators which are essential for the buyers and which determine whether we can sell our products at a high price or not.

At that moment the quality of our starch was formed by a GU-50 hydrocyclones unit. Like similar equipment – GU-200 and GU-500, it was made of carbon steel and was supplied with K-type pumps with a gland packing seal. An attempt to replace the material of the equipment with stainless steel and the outdated pumps with modern ones did increase our productivity but did not affect the quality issue. Therefore, it was decided to change the technological scheme of starch extraction and refining fundamentally.

The peculiarity of the GU-50, GU-200 and GU-500 hydrocyclones is that the extraction of the fibres and starch refining occur simultaneously. Thus, their main shortcoming is that the refining only takes place in 4 cyclone blocks out of 12 (in the latest models in 6 out of 14).

In addition, the design of the hydrocyclone unit allows for the uncontrolled multiplication of microorganisms, and the cyclones overflow themselves with a foam mixture of potato fibres and juice – a substance that is difficult to dispose of.

For comparison, in modern factories, the refining line has 12 to 14 cyclone blocks, and this excludes concentration cyclones, decanters or plane vacuum filters, in which juice separation is also carried out and fibres is being removed from starch suspension. This is not to mention the attention that modern equipment pays to control the development of bacteria.

The desire to improve the quality of products made us take a risky step – to change the scheme of work of the hydrocyclone unit, which was designed by the manufacturer of the plant. In 2011, a technical solution was developed. At that time dewatering and extraction sieves, as well as concentration cyclones made by Larsson, were installed.

The purchased equipment installed before the GU-50, and the new flow scheme allowed to increase the number of cyclone blocks involved in refinery process threefold, and which was most important – to radically improve the quality of products and increase the productivity of GU-50 to 150 tons of potatoes per day (i.e., by a factor of three)

In 2016, VIMAL, after consideration of the offers of all potato starch processing equipment suppliers, began construction of a new potato starch factory with the daily throughput of 1440 tons raw potatoes with the support of the Danish company SiccaDania.

In the new plant, there are separate hydrocyclone lines for the refining of starch, one for large and another one for small granules. This will not only ensure a top quality starch but also allow the fractionation of starch and offer products with a large or small fraction to the customers. Furthermore, we can produce modified starch based on fine-grained grains in the future.

Also, at the new plant, it is planned to produce pharmaceutical starch and special starch for yeast production.

Starch Director at SiccaDania, says: 

The peculiarity of cooperation with SiccaDania is that we do not just sell the equipment – we, in fact, with limited funding, helps to translate your ideas and your desire for an ideal plant into reality.

SiccaDania not only supplies key equipment but also provides technical assistance at all stages, starting from construction and up to facilitating the in-house manufacturing of washing machines, equipment, conveyors and various dryers. And most importantly, we help to solve the challenge of converting starch processing waste and effluents into usable raw materials.

Our idea is to convert the waste and effluents from the facility into raw materials for the production of products with high value-added (potato protein, liquid organic fertilisers and food fibres). Consider if you can sell potato starch for $550/t, the advanced processing will add extra $1,500 per ton of protein, $1,500 per ton of fibres and $55 per ton of liquid fertilizer.

The joint experience of and cooperation between SiccaDania and VIMAL will allow the plant to be built with the most up-to-date and efficient technological solutions that will produce products with unprecedented quality and profitability.

Mr V.L.Lazar, the founder of PPCE “VIMAL”, says:

With our own engineering base and extensive experience in manufacturing starch processing equipment, we can manufacture a significant portion of our equipment ourselves, thereby significantly saving our budget. In this case, the experience accumulated by SiccaDania cannot be overestimated, since it saves us the time and effort of looking for optimal solutions, and we can manufacture equipment based on the best practices and not waste our time and effort on reinventing the wheel.

After launching starch production in 2018, in 2020, we plan to launch a plant that will recover protein from potato juice, produce dry potato fibres and liquid organic fertiliser. Technical potato protein is a highly liquid protein for use in animal feeds, and nutritional protein is an excellent ingredient for the food industry. Nutritional potato fibres are a healthy product, which is the subject of ever-increasing demand. Liquid organic fertiliser is concentrated potato juice, which contains all the necessary nutrients in a bioavailable form.

“When the advanced potato processing facility beside Chernihiv is put into operation, it will give a big boost to the development of the whole industry in our region:

  • Engineering – we will be able to share our experience with those who want to produce starch
  • Agriculture – the farmers will be able to use the new biological fertiliser and receive more profits from potatoes
  • Animal husbandry – since potato pulp is an efficient and cheap feed

We shall offer new “healthy” products – potato protein and food fibres – to the food industry.

Mr V.L.Lazar sums up:

“We consider our priority task to support the incremental development of our company – the development of the engineering workshop, advanced potato processing, as well as further processing of potato starch and the products based on various types of modified starch“.