You are here

De Smet Engineers & Contractors : a key player in energy transition of food industry

De Smet Engineers & Contractors have proposed massive energy savings projects in BENEO’s factories in Belgium and in Chile.

BENEO is one of the leading manufacturers of functional ingredients in the world. Part of the Südzucker Group, its organisation was formed in 2007 by the companies Orafti, Palatinit and Remy and is currently represented in more than 80 countries around the world. 1,000 employees in seven offices and five production sites, which are located in Belgium, Germany, Italy and Chile ensure that you can always rely on the consistently high quality of their food ingredients and services.

De Smet Engineers & Contractors (DSEC) is a privately held limited liability company incorporated in Belgium since 1989. It has established an international reputation as a general contractor and technology provider, specialising in the agro-industrial fields in which it is a fully integrated world-class provider of engineering, procurement and construction services under a single point responsibility. Built on many years of experience, DSEC has a compelling business offering that combines excellence in execution, safety, cost containment, and reliability with a particular focus on energy-saving initiatives and sustainability. Today, the company serves five different industries worldwide, all of which belong to the natural resources processing chain. These include the sugar &ethanol, vegetable oils & derivatives, bio-based industries, alternative proteins  and the agro-nutrients Industry. Above all, DSEC’s transversal business activity “Decarbonization, Energy Efficiency and Renewable” is highly involved on reducing carbon footprint in its clients’ facilities.

In 2018, in the framework of a capacity extension in the San Pedro Inulin Factory of BENEO Chile, DSEC conducted an energy efficiency audit. Thanks to the willingness of BENEO’s management to initiate rapidly the energy shift in their plants, we came up with a 5-year investment plan to reduce the factory’s thermal energy consumption by 50%. Based on our proposed investment plan, the factory’s fuel boiler would stop running by 2023. Instead of fossil fuels, the factory would make use of local waste wood chips to produce energy from biomass. In addition, the resource efficient solutions we put forward are backed up by Chilean legislation and international treaties such as the Paris Agreement.


In order to make significant energy savings, we have to share the energy fluxes amongst all process units, which increases a bit more the complexity of the production line. The success of such a project requires a paradigm shift or inner awakening of the production teams from a world where the energy is available at any moment and is slave of the process to a world where the energy is limited and may impact the production. This cannot happen without embarking all the players – from top management to the workers - into this roadmap to a greener future.

While the first results of the investment plan in Chile’s plant were very positive, BENEO decided in 2020 to initiate the same process for its plant in Oreye in Wallonia. As with the Chilean plant, a phased investment plan has been issued by DSEC to drastically reduce its energy consumption. In Oreye, it is even a bigger challenge as no local biomass feedstock is available to supply the residual required energy. Therefore, other sources of energy have been studied : solar panels, switch from natural gas to hydrogen once available, biogas.

DSEC’s management and teams are highly motivated by these improvement projects which make sense for our common future :

  • We are keen on exporting our know-how from our energy & process specialists from Wallonia (Belgium) worldwide. Indeed, as we all know, carbon dioxide is not stopped at the borders! So any emissions reduction possible will benefit anyone and everywhere ! The food industry is facing colossal challenges in terms of energy reductions in the near future. We are ready to support our clients through this sustainability transition
  • We are committed to provide realistic and viable solutions which will improve and optimize the process lines in order to reach industrial excellence.
  • Our goal is to improve the efficiency of plants by increasing the yields of their production and decreasing their energy consumption. When designing and building plants, we always conduct projects in a way that targets low levels of water and energy consumption.
  • We aim to bring everyone, whatever his/her position in our organizations, in this major shift for the industries. Listening to the concerns and the needs coming from the people who daily run the factory help us to achieve our challenging goals. Collective intelligence is the key !

Having the knowledge, skills, and academic training to operate complex and energy efficient plants, DSEC is a key player in energy saving solutions. Thanks to the confidence BENEO placed in DSEC, BENEO is today clearly leading the energy transition in the food industry.

A Wallonia’s success story to spread as an example for the industry.


Sign up

Complete the application form and adhere to the Charter of Brand Ambassadors

Become an ambassador