SESVanderHave invests over £8 million pounds in new high‐tech research centre to enhance sugar beet research

SESVanderHave, the global market leader in sugar beet seed, is investing over 8 million pounds (€10m) in a brand new 20,000 m², high‐tech research centre adjacent to its Headquarters in Tienen, Belgium.

“This facility will increase and extend our R&D capacity. Employing up to fifty people the cutting edge centre will more than double our existing research capacity. Construction will start in late 2014 and will be operational by autumn 2015,” explains Rob van Tetering, CEO of SESVanderHave

“This new infrastructure is essential to accommodate future research projects which in turn will drive further improvements in sugar beet performance for growers and industry alike.

“The ‘research centre’ will be equipped with state of the art technology. Thousands of sugar beet plants will be grown under controlled conditions, free from the influence of the weather. Separate enclosed compartments will produce homogeneous environments to facilitate precise control of the growing process to deliver even better, more reliable research and test results.

“Research remains the cornerstone of our business. Growers expect SESVanderhHave sugar beet seed to perform optimally under a range of conditions. By extensively testing new varieties before they are marketed, we are better equipped to anticipate field performance. We are already doing this on a large scale, both in the greenhouse and in our own field trials.

This new facility extends and improves our research capacity. It will also enhance the collaborative research we undertake with renowned universities and institutes worldwide, including within the UK. This ensures our collaborative research remains at the forefront utilising the latest science, innovation and expertise for our products. This cutting edge research centre enables us to expand such research, in turn accelerating delivery of new and improved traits : such as higher yield, improved disease resistance and reduced dependence on inputs.”

“This investment is striking in economically challenging times.” Rob van Tetering explains. As a business we wanted to expand the site in Tienen, because that allowed us to keep the business expertise centralised. Tienen is the headquarters and knowledge hub of the international group and we emphasize this through this investment. We are currently one of the few companies that dares to take such a major innovative investment. We only hope other seed businesses will quickly follow suit because investment pays off.”

“This new investment underlines SESVanderHave’s commitment to, and confidence in, the future of sugar production.”

The Ecological Footprint

The ecological footprint of the centre was a condition of the investment on the Feed Food Health Site which is owned by Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Vlaams‐Brabant ( POM) .

Erwin Lammens, General Manager of POM, explains:

“Feed Food Health was established with the aim of attracting innovative businesses from the food sector to Tienen. The SESVanderHave project fits perfectly with this aim: it is innovative, high‐tech and forms the basis of what Tienen is renowned for: sugar. We could not imagine a better partner at this time.”

“Part of the agreement with SESVanderHave was that the new research centre must be CO²‐neutral. Sustainability is of the utmost importance to us.”

Rob van Tetering explains how SESVanderHave makes such a large centre CO² neutral:

“During design, we paid particular attention to our ecological footprint. Thanks to several innovative features we met both economic and environmental criteria.

“For example, building our own thermal power plant will not only regulate the temperature of the research centre, but any surplus heat can be used elsewhere in the business or exported to nearby businesses.

“We will also recycle rainwater and are working with the latest types of environmentally-friendly lighting and computer-controlled screens to minimise light pollution. As a business we adopt the most stringent rules in the field of (bio) safety and cleanliness, and set our own standards still higher. This ensures our employees benefit from an optimal working environment.”

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