LYCKEBY AMYLEX, a.s. is not only the largest Czech potato starch producer, but also the largest potato processor in the Czech Republic. It usually processes between 85 000 – 100 000 tonnes of potatoes, which is more than 10% of Czech production. With its daily capacity, it belongs to medium-sized enterprises of its kind in Europe. The majority owner of the company is Swedish national starch manufacturer “Sveriges Stärkelseproducenter förening u.p.a.” (SSF), which is 100% owned by Swedish farmers, and minority owner “Česká Škrobárenská a.s.” which has 31,4% of company’s shares.
LYCKEBY AMYLEX owns state-of-the-art potato starch production and processing equipment, which is on par with other starch plants in Europe. The quality of the starch produced by LYCKEBY AMYLEX, a.s. is of a very high standard and therefore the starch is used in food businesses in the Czech Republic and abroad.
However, different types of by-products / wastes are also produced in the production of native potato starch:
- potato fruit juice,
- waste washing waters.
Hundreds of millions of crowns have been invested in LYCKEBY AMYLEX over the past 20 years to reduce the environmental impact of starch production. For example, by completely replacing machinery, water consumption per tonne of processed potatoes was reduced by more than 10-fold. The reduced water consumption significantly reduced the volume of some of the above-mentioned wastes.
All the measures implemented so far allow LYCKEBY AMYLEX to produce starch within the conditions set by laws and regulations. The significant specificity of these wastes, is that their large amount is produced within a short period of time and the actual location of the production plant is near the town of Horažďovice and the protected zone of Otava river
Processing and utilization of potato fruit juice is known in principle, but is still improving. There are basically four successive stages of processing. The first stage is the production of feed protein, in which protein and the so-called tuber water is produced. The second phase is the concentration of tuber water to a so-called concentrate, which is stable in time without unpleasant odours. The third phase involves the use of the concentrate as a biomass replacement for biogas plants or as a natural concentrated organic fertilizer. The fourth phase is the use of condensate as a substitute for water used in the production of starch, or its modification enabling discharge into the water of the Otava river.
LYCKEBY AMYLEX, a.s. has been looking for a more energy-efficient and cheaper method of protein production in the co-operation with the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague.
The whole project was realized between 2017-2019:
2017 – protein production
2018 – evaporator (concentration of tuber juice)
2019 – pre-treatment of waste waters (to be finalized end of August).
The whole investment was 298 mil CZK and LYCKEBY AMYLEX expects 75 mil CZK to be refunded as a subsidy from the Rural Development Program, operational program Supporting the development of new products, processes and technologies in the processing and marketing of agricultural products.
The benefits of the project for reducing the environmental impact of starch production:
(a) the overall use of potato fruit juice has been improved;
(b) the production of a new product (feed protein) has been implemented;
(c) further product – a tuber juice concentrate could be stored without the risk of odour decomposition and it is used as a fertilizer or as a biogas source;
(d) the waste waters from starch production are purified;
(e) the processing of potato fruit juice and the purification of washing and flooding waters complete the whole potato starch production process;
(f) in the protein, concentrate and condensate production plant all waste heat from the production has been used;
(g) the integral implementation of the project ensures sustainable and efficient production of potato starch.
Mgr. Ivica Punčikar, MBA