DEMO 1 – Agro-industry AGROINDUSTRIAL PASCUAL SANZ (APS) – Spain
Sector 1. Forage dehydration
Demonstration of an IBLC for forage production, solid biomass and innovative bio-composites inside the animal feed sector
40.000 t/year of bales and pellets straw pellet
Main actors involved
Agroindustrial Pascual Sanz (APS)
CIRCE and CREA
APS is dedicated to the production of dehydrated forage in bales or pellet format. The raw material is mainly alfalfa and is purchased in 2 ways:
The agro-industry purchase in the market to regular traders in bale format (around 10% of the alfalfa purchased).
Provides the alfalfa farmers a harvesting service and purchase their product which is brought to the agro-industry shredded in regular alfalfa trailers (around 90% of the raw material-100 farmers).
In minor occasions and depending on quality demand of the consumer, they purchase other forage products (like Sudangrass) to be mixed with the alfalfa. Around 50 kt of alfalfa is received from April to November, which is the working season of the plant to make bales (the 85% of the production) and pellets (the 15% of the production) for the animal feed market.
Main consumers are local/regional farmers, livestock industries and intermediaries from Spain whereas around 45% of the production is destined to exports. Transport to consumers is normally arranged by the agro-industry with external companies.
The raw material is received and stored according to the quality. Once grinded, it passes through a rotatory dryer which works at 100% of full load (24 hours a day, 6 days a week) from April to September. From October to November the load is reduced to 70% and from December to March the load is minimum (up to 30%).
The milling and pelletising system is available from April to November at 50% since most of the production is marketed in bales format, whereas from December to March is fully available.
The new business line has been conceived to take advantage of the idle period of the equipment in the plant from December to March. During this time, new pellets for two different purposes will be produced: energy use and bio-composite materials.
A production of 6.000 t/yr has been considered as the optimal for the company as a first approach, although the maximum capacity is around 10.000 t/yr. The following figure shows the new complementary business proposed. With AGROinLOG approach, the plant flexibility will be increased by enabling the production of new pellets during the current season of inactivity (December to March) with a negligible investment.
Furthermore, two additional markets will be tackled with these new products: bioenergy and bio-composites. The raw material for the production of pellets will be cereal straw, maize stalks and sudan grass to be purchased to the farmers around. In order to upgrade the quality of the pellet when the goal is to satisfy the energy demands, wood chips will be acquired.
The current line is able to process any type of herbaceous products and wood chips with minor modifications of the operation mode or increasing the maintenance, although the capacity of the line will decrease.
Valorisation of 7 kt/year of raw materials currently unexploited (straw, maize stalks mainly) that can be purchased from the farmers at a low price, to provide an added value to this material stream.
Turnover: Increase the turnover of APS by at least 660.000 € considering a market price of 110 €/t for the new pellet produced. This doesn’t include the potential of higher prices depending on the mixtures of the pellets and the final use (bio-energy / bio-composites). It will have an impact of 11% increase.
Employability: In the agro-industry, maintain the 11 employees with a complete working time due to the seasonality avoidance and 1 extra employee for the management of the new business line. In the farmers and logistics sides, new employment is expected for straw logistics.
Increased incomes due to better use of the equipment: Equipment compatibility (dryer, mill, pelletizer and storage systems) will reduce payback periods. In this line, dryer will reduce depreciation ratios applied to a single product by 25% and the milling and pelletizing by 62,5%, as the equipment will be used for other purposes. This will be favourable for increased competitiveness in final product prices or increased profitability of the agro-industry.
To expand the clients’ portfolio: 2 new markets are envisaged for the non-food application in APS. The first one will be bio-energy, with a clear demand on new pellets for energy applications coming from biomass. The second, although it is a more incipient market, bio-composites for the manufacturing sector is appearing, which will strengthen business competitiveness of APS.