The testimony of the student of IngChemical Engineering for Sustainable Development

3 June 2021 - The opportunity to see a plant and attend the explanations of some professionals in the food industry and biotechnology - these are the words of the student Costanza Stefanini who, together with her colleagues from the Degree Course in IngChemical Engineering for Sustainable Development, visited the company Cereal Docks of Camisano Vicentino (Vicenza), an Italian industrial group active in the first agri-food transformation for the production of ingreients such as flours, oils and lecithins, derived from oilseeds and creals, intended for applications in different sectors: food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, animal nutrition, technical and energy.

The day at the company began with a video call to get to know James Fanin, son of the founder of Cereal Docks, who recounted the origins and evolution of the company over the years. The company was born in the 80s with the name "Aurora" and was mainly involved in drying and storing corn. Today, however, it is an innovative company that deals with corn, soybeans and rapeseed for the extraction of oil, flour and lecithins but has also specialized in the production of alternative proteins and much more Getting to know Fanin was a great inspiration for the students as, at just 28 years old, he is the company's Chief Executive Officer. 

R&B manager Giovanna Pressi subsequently presented the most innovative part of the company: the Demetra start-up with a focus on green biotechnologies, created after more than three years of work. Dr. Pressi introduced the students to Demetra's laboratories, explaining the ways in which a very high quantity of secondary metabolites is produced from a fragment of a rare plant, useful for obtaining active ingredients for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sector. A process perfectly in line with the mission of the entire company because it greatly reduces the production chain.

Students were also offered the opportunity to visit the Camisano oil refinery and Cogeneratori, with an explanation of the oil extraction process, lecithins through solvent extraction and how heat is recovered to minimize costs of electricity and water. In fact, the plant includes two oil cogenerators, two boilers, a gas cogenerator, a turbine and photovoltaic panels. 

The day ended with an illustration of the innovative production of textured proteins, to obtain the texture of meat using vegetable proteins, and with the testimony of two students UCBM who carried out their degree thesis at Cereal Docks, Gabriele Saiaci and Aadil Tayabali, developing a project on process optimization relating to vegetable proteins for food use.