SESVanderHave is investing more than 10 million euro in high-tech research center
SESVanderHave, the global market leader in sugarbeet seed, is investing over 10 million euro in a brand new high-tech research center on the site of the nearby Feed Food Health-site. Through the construction of this center SESVanderHave is raising its R & D capacity to a higher level. The research center will be more than 20,000 m², and up to fifty people will work there.
Expansion of the research capacity by a factor of 2.5
Rob van Tetering, CEO of SESVanderHave, explains why this research center is so necessary: “Our current infrastructure must be adapted for all the research projects we want to carry out. We test thousands of plants per year for more than fifty countries and we need more than twice the infrastructure in the coming years to continue to keep research at a consistently high level. For that reason we sought a solution for expanding our R&D activities and we found that solution on the Feed Food Health-site, a stone’s throw from our site."
Top technology under glass
The ‘glass research center’ will be an example of cutting edge technology. Thousands of sugarbeet plants will be able to grow there in optimal circumstances, without influence from external weather conditions. We determine those conditions ourselves. This allows the growing process of the plants to be controlled better in separate enclosed compartments. It is important that the plants grow as homogeneously as possible: that allows a much better interpretation of the test results and the research is much more reliable. This is of the utmost importance for sugarbeet growers, says Rob van Tetering.
“Research is the keystone of the company to SESVanderHave. The growers expect sugarbeet species from us that can perform optimally under any condition. By extensively testing new and potential top species of the future now before they are marketed, we know perfectly how they will react in a few years in the field. We are already doing that on a large scale, both in the greenhouse and in our own test fields. In addition we also work with renowned universities worldwide, not least of which is KU Leuven. That is very important to us: our research has to be exact. We start with a lot of tests on a lot of plants to achieve the best results in the end. Thanks to this cutting edge research center we will now be able to expand and perfect that research further. In that way we will also be able to market new and improved species more quickly: sugarbeet with a higher yield, better resistance to disease and less dependence on plant protection agents. It shows that SESVanderHave believes in the future of sugarbeet, even with the abolition of the quota coming up in 2017."
Integration in the Feed Food Health site
The construction of the research center will start in the winter and the first compartments will already be operational by the autumn of 2015. The ecological footprint of the company shall be taken into account in the construction of the complex. That was also a condition of the organization of Feed Food Health, which became the ideal catalyst in the R&D project of SESVanderHave for the rest of the innovative site. The Feed Food Health site is owned by the POM, the Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Vlaams-Brabant. Erwin Lammens, General Manager of POM, explains: “Feed Food Health is established with the aim of attracting innovative businesses from the food sector to Tienen. The SESVanderHave project therefore fits perfectly with our aim: it is innovative, high-tech and forms the basis of what Tienen is known for: sugar. We could not imagine a better partner at this time."
Brand new complex is environmentally friendly and energy saving
Erwin Lammens: “We have agreed with SESVanderHave that the new research center must be CO²-neutral, because that has always been the ambition since the beginning of the Feed Food Health project. Sustainability is of the utmost importance to us."
How will SESVanderHave be able to keep such a large complex CO² neutral? Rob van Tetering: “When building this research center, a lot of attention will be paid to our ecological footprint. Thanks to a few innovative interventions we have found a way to allow the economy and ecology to go hand in hand. In that way we are, for exemple, building our own thermal power plant which will not only regulate the temperature in the R&D complex but in the long term could produce residual heat to the rest of the company or even to the neighbours. We will also reuse rainwater and are working with the newest type of environmentally friendly lights and screens, which result in minimum light pollution to the environment. At the same time we apply the strictest rules in the field of (bio) safety and cleanliness: we conform to the strictest legislation and set the internal bar even higher. This also benefits our employees as they always work in an optimal environment."
The investment of millions by SESVanderHave is striking in economically challenging times. Rob van Tetering explains: “For SESVanderHave it is crucially important to continue to invest in a rapidly developing market. We must try to look into the future even more than other companies and to try to anticipate it. The new research center will allow us to bring new and better products onto the market more quickly and that is of considerable importance in our sector. We also absolutely wanted to stay in Tienen, because that would allow us to keep the business know-how centrally located. Tienen is the headquarters and knowledge center of the international group and we emphasize this through this investment. We are currently one of the few companies in Flanders that dares to take such a major innovative investment. We only hope that the rest of Flanders and Belgium will quickly follow suit because investment pays off."
SESVanderHave is the global market leader in the sugarbeet seed industry. More than one in three sugar beets in the world comes from the typical blue seeds of SESVanderHave. 585 staff members in 23 international sites are led from the head office in Tienen. 283 Belgian staff members are employed in Tienen itself. 32 percent of all SESVanderHave employees works within R&D.
SESVanderHave specializes in every aspect of sugar beet seed production: from the development of new resistances and species in the trial fields to the final finished seeds in the factory. Globally SESVanderHave sells 360 species each year, the result of a careful and targeted research process. Each species is developed with a view to the needs of the separate markets, anywhere in the world. SESVanderHave is part of the Florimond Desprez group, a French family company specialized in seed. SESVanderHave is represented anywhere in the world where sugar beets are cultivated by a branch office or a local agent.
About Feed Food Health
The Feed Food Health-project in Tienen is a long-term and sustainable policy that is shaped as a knowledge and innovation community with room for innovative projects, developments and activities in the broad domain of healthy food for humans and animals. The city works together in a ‘triple helix’ with the POM Flemish Brabant, the KU Leuven and the regional business community. FFH is visible on the Feed Food Health-Campus and in the biogenerator Food Port on the Industrial Estate in Tienen.
The FFH Campus was developed as an innovative and knowledge-oriented work environment for research, development and production. The ambition is to develop the zone into a sustainable and CO2-neutral industrial estate with efficient use of space, in which businesses are embedded in an extensive facility and park management.
Such an approach makes this an attractive location for businesses. In addition to an attractive work environment, there are also accompanying initiatives such as educational projects and measuring and test centers. Finally the accessibility and quality of urban living and the other facilities are important attractive establishment factors for Tienen.
Source: Agripress 02:42:00|29/04/2014