New areas

Exploring all the wealth of plants

Foresight is an essential dimension in Avril’s strategy. One of the Group’s missions is to enable the farming world to provide solutions for the future in terms of food, energy and chemical resources, driven by the objective of preserving the environment.

Vegetable proteins : an RID priority for the group

According to a foresight study by the BIPE * and the Avril Group, meeting global needs for vegetable proteins will become an essential challenge to feed the planet. The worldwide demand for protein is likely to rise by 40% between now and 2030. The use of vegetable proteins, balanced with the contribution of animal proteins – according to the dietary trends observed in emerging countries – constitutes a response for the future. It is in this context that Avril aims to place its expertise and know-how at the service of developing French supplies of vegetable proteins with high added value for the purposes of human nutrition, animal feeds and renewable chemistry.

This ambitious program will enable the marketing of concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates of rapeseed and sunflower proteins with optimal functional properties because of the implementation of environmentally-friendly, innovative and economically viable processes.  Avril thus aims to become the leading European producer of vegetable proteins from oilseeds and pulses, and to develop supplies of ingredients with high added value, thus reinforcing its presence on international markets.

* Office of Information and Economic Forecasts

Oilseed meal : a second life for grains

Until now, oilseed meals – another by-product of rapeseed and sunflower grain crushing and rich in protein and fiber – were little processed and only used to feed farmed livestock. They are now central to research by Avril. The aim is to make oilseed meals a new raw material that can be fractionated to collect the protein they contain in order to produce concentrates with high nutritional value that can feed both humans and animals.

Biotechnologies : focusing on living beings

A highly promising field of exploration for Avril, "white" biotechnologies use microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts, enzymes and microalgae) to transform raw vegetable material into compounds that can be used in renewable chemistry and third generation biofuels. These microorganisms can produce compounds of considerable use in industry – like bioplastics – based on oils, or be used themselves to produce highly original oils. 

The group has its own industrial biotechnology factory at Oleon in Venette, near Compiègne, and aims to develop an industrial unit by 2017.

In addition, Avril is involved in several biotechnology projects through partnerships – for example, with Fermentalg, a company specialising in the production of oils and proteins based on microalgae, and within the Institut P.I.V.E.R.T., which is researching new processes for making use of the entire plant. Avril is also a partner of Toulouse White Biotech, whose mission is to foster the interface between public research and industry in white biotechnologies.

Biomass : the challenge of resources

Oilseed biomass combines plants with a high lipid and protein content, like rapeseed, sunflowers and peas. These resources play an important role in the Avril Group's industrial activities. Plants are central to RID* work.

The Group thus contributes to seed improvement by supporting the varietal selection dynamic.

Its ambition is to make the very best use of this biomass, which represents a renewable raw material with considerable advantages for chemistry and energy.

In partnership with universities and manufacturers within the Institut P.I.V.E.R.T., Avril is developing research on the oilseed biorefineries of the future. This work will make it possible to use the entire plant through the comprehensive management of the material and the energy contributed, based on industrial ecology.

The aim of this research is also to be able to process the wide variety of biomass used in the BioTfueL project, such as lignocellulosic biomass (wood, straw and plant residues), together with microalgae (see biotechnologies).  

Nothing is wasted in sunflowers

Sunflower husks, already used to power the biomass boiler in the crushing factories at Bassens and Lezoux, represent a raw material of major industrial interest for Avril. The research department is now at work on processing husks in order to extend their use to fine chemistry and eco-materials.

* Research, Innovation and Development