Bühler focuses on sustainable rice processing

by World Grain Staff
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LONDON, ENGLAND — Speaking on sustainability in rice processing during the 2013 European Rice Convention in Valencia, Spain, Bühler's Nick Wilkins outlined the challenges facing the rice industry and the company’s commitment to help rice processors improve the sustainability of their operations, by reducing their energy, air and water costs, and by boosting their productivity and profits.

In particular, he focused on Bühler's new UltraLine range of rice processing equipment, whose high-capacity and energy-efficiency sets new standards in sustainable rice processing.

With 40% to 50% of the world's population dependent on rice as a staple food and that rice consuming population predicted to grow by around two billion by 2050, it is likely that another 100 million tonnes of rice per year will be needed to feed our growing global population by 2030.

"That is about a 25% increase on where we are now," said Wilkins, who stressed that land availability for rice growing was expected to decrease during the next few decades and that an increase in rice yield from farming was therefore unlikely to accommodate the growth needed in rice volumes. 

"On top of this, there are significant losses in the whole food chain, and around forty per cent of rice is actually lost in the production process. This situation, coupled with an increase in energy costs, means that sustainability and sustainable rice processing is going to be critical.”

He emphasized that solutions require innovation in products and processes as well as plant engineering and design. 

"At Bühler, we aim to ensure that every kilogram of paddy that is grown and farmed is converted in the most efficient and cost effective manner into high quality products and by-products for our customers,” Wilkins said. “As a company we spend four to five per cent of our turnover in basic research and applied development, which is significantly above the industry average. We partner with our customers to develop solutions that give better performance, better efficiency and that encourage sustainability within the industry."

The first two UltraLine machines are the UltraPoly for rice polishing, which allows millers to polish rice at almost twice the capacity of previous machines; and the UltraWhite for advanced whitening that couples a capacity of 9 to 12 tonnes per hour with reduced space requirements and lower energy use. 

Both the UltraPoly and UltraWhite can handle high capacity processing loads with unparalleled energy efficiency, Bühler said. They are the first of several solutions planned in Bühler's UltraLine range, which reinforces the company's leading position in delivering innovative, energy efficient technology solutions to rice processors. These will eliminate losses, reduce waste, increase yield and achieve lasting success.