inauguration verdun

Inauguration of the largest solar thermal power plant in France

Dec 12 2023
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Lactalis Ingredients, in partnership with Newheat, inaugurated on December 8, the largest solar thermal power plant in France, which will supply heat to the Verdun industrial site (55) for the next 25 years.


Heat production constitutes the primary energy need in France, representing up to 45 % of the nation’s energy requirements. 60 % of this heat production is currently supplied by fossil fuels, and it also accounts for 80 % of national gas imports. Decarbonizing heat production by decarbonizing our energy mix while actively working towards lower energy dependence has become a major societal challenge.

It is our responsibility as an international industrial player to do all we can to minimize our environmental impact. We have invested very heavily at the Verdun site over the last five years to ensure we keep pace with both current and future demands: industrial optimization, improvement of production conditions, and reduction of environmental impact. This site today converts liquid whey, a bi-product of cheese-making, into whey powder via a process that is a high energy consumer, since 90 % of the water needs to be evaporated to transform the liquid state into solid powder. The hot air sent into the drying tower to achieve this can reach temperatures of around 200°C.

The new drying tower commissioned at the Verdun site in November 2021 was specifically designed to cap this high-energy heat need and reduce our gas consumption by the use of a renewable-energy heat source in the form of solar thermal power plant.



On 8th December 2023, it was with great pride that we formally opened this facility, which had already been proving its usefulness, since the panels were put into operation in March 2023 and have been operating ever since.

After the major renovations of the Verdun site and the inauguration of the new drying tower in 2021, it was essential to continue our transformation by focusing on reducing our energy footprint. We are delighted with this project with Newheat which will allow us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7% across the site. This is an important step which embodies our efforts in terms of sustainable development, which we will further strengthen in the years to come to meet the challenges of the 21st century”.



Solar thermal today is a known technology, and we have the benefit of several years of feedback testifying to its efficiency. It consists of solar thermal collectors behind which water circulates and is heated by the power of the sun.


Using solar heat to cut 2 000 tons of CO2 emissions per year at the Verdun factory


Newheat, the supplier who built the thermal solar panels powering one of the drying towers in Verdun, is the French leader in thermal solar technology. This company has been supplying systems for consumers, industrial sites and urban heating networks since 2015.

15 000 m² of solar panels that have been installed to feed the drying tower, providing a maximal power output of approximately 13 MWth. The panels are connected to a 3000 m² storage tank, which can store several days’ heat production. This ensures the continuity of the heat supply at night and on cloudy days during the summer period. This installation is intended to reduce the Verdun Tower 4 gas consumption by 11 %, which equates to an overall reduction in the site’s greenhouse gas emissions of 7 % (i.e. 2000 T / year). The solar panels will on average cover 20 % to 30 % of the drying tower’s heat needs and up to 60 % of its needs in summer (the remaining portions being provided by gas).

This project is part of a wider virtuous approach with focus on the future. We are planning to install a biomass boiler by 2026, which will replace nearly 50 % of the gas currently consumed on the site with renewable energy. This second project will help cut the site’s overall carbon footprint by 50 % by 2026.


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