The world’s largest chocolate factory switches to “green energy”

News Release
Biofuel installation at Barry Callebaut’s production site in Belgium
  • Installation of a 35-megawatt biofuel energy plant by Electrawinds of Belgium at Barry Callebaut’s production site in Wieze, Belgium.
  • The project is in line with Barry Callebaut’s environmental policy and makes a significant contribution by the company to the achievement of the Kyoto protocol.
  • The installation will directly deliver renewable energy to the Barry Callebaut site, allowing the group to save transport and distribution costs.

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, will switch to “green energy” to operate its largest chocolate factory in Wieze, Belgium. The company has signed a contract with Belgium’s leading private renewable energy company, Electrawinds, for the installation of a 35-megawatt biofuel installation, which will power the production of more than 250,000 tonnes of chocolate a year. The energy produced is equivalent to that consumed by 90,000 households. By switching to biofuel as an energy source, the production at the world’s largest chocolate factory will become CO2 neutral. Barry Callebaut will make a significant contribution to achieving the Kyoto protocol, which seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to fight global warming. The project is in line with the company’s environmental policy. 

“Barry Callebaut’s objectives are to conserve resources and minimize the adverse impacts on the environment. Switching to green energy to power the world’s largest chocolate factory is a major step in this direction. The palm oil that will be used to produce energy will come from existing agricultural areas, meaning that the project will not cause additional de-forestation of the rain forest. With Electrawinds we have found a highly experienced partner to implement our switch to green energy,” says Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Barry Callebaut.

The biofuel installation will combust stearin, a by-product created when refining palm oil. The power generated by the installation will directly be delivered to the Barry Callebaut site, allowing the group to save the transport and distribution costs normally charged by the grid operator. The energy yield of the biofuel plant is up to 70 percent compared to only 35 percent for traditional energy plants because of the recuperation of heat. This will also allow the chocolate factory to lower its consumption of light fuel oil. Extra energy could also be supplied to households located in the proximity of the plant. Furthermore, the installation will create some additional jobs in Wieze as staff will be hired by Electrawinds to run the energy plant, which is expected to be operational in the summer 2008.


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Barry Callebaut:

With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion (EUR 2.7 billion) for fiscal year 2005/06, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa, chocolate and confectionery products – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 24 countries, operates more than 30 production facilities and employs approximately 7,500 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), to global retailers. It also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing.


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Electrawinds is the leading private renewable energy company in Belgium with further operations in Italy. Since its formation in 1998, Electrawinds has invested a total of €100m in renewable energy projects. To help deliver these goals, the company has delivered several major projects. These include a bio fuel installation in Ostend and a series of facilities near Bruges – including, at the time, the largest wind farm in Belgium. In total, Electrawinds now has 50 MW of installed capacity in wind and biomass energy, and has licenses for projects of 60 MW for next year.


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