Danisco's and its subsidiary Xyrofin's plant is the biggest xylose plant in the world.


2 minute read

Wood-based sweetener production plant

Danisco and its subsidiary Xyrofin had already been a leader in the speciality sweetener industry. New business growth potential was foreseen for xylitol already in the 70’s as a natural health-promoting sugar alternative. Xylitol is based on xylose which is mainly wood-based. This is why most of the producers are getting their raw material from hardwood processing plants. Synergies with Lenzing AG, a major fiber and yarn producer, were found in the beginning of the 90’s. A new xylose plant was built next to Lenzing AG’s pulp unit, thus lowering logistic costs and making xylose production sustainable in the long run.

Neste Engineering Solutions


  • New business potential substantiated for both Danisco and the feedstock provider Lenzing AG.

  • Successful implementation of a first-of-kind process in Lenzing, Austria.

  • The biggest xylose plant in the world.

3 challenges, Danisco wanted to solve:

1) The best process concept

Find and verify the new process concept for xylose production and assess its overall feasibility.

2) Scaleup from pilot to industrial scale

Optimize the concept at pilot scale and then scaleup from pilot to industrial scale.

3) Meet the expanding market demand

Build and start up the large scale xylose plant to meet the expanding market demand.


Neste Engineering Solutions has engineered, built and expanded the new xylose production unit in connection with the existing viscose pulp mill of Lenzing AG, including main unit operations of filtering, separation, crystallization and drying. Technology was provided by the Finnish based company Cultor (later Danisco) and its subsidiary Xyrofin.

Neste Engineering Solutions, and its predecessors, began with process concept development and basic engineering, before moving on to EPCM services, automation system delivery and start-up support provision in Lenzing, Austria.

The most suitable process concept was identified, scaled up and commissioned in close collaboration with Xyrofin for its expanding business. Neste Engineering Solutions also had experience from providing basic engineering services and automation DCS deliveries for xylose and xylitol production at the Danisco Illinois, US site.

An image of a BIM model of a refinery


Neste Engineering Solutions successfully scaled up the new process concept from R&D and pilot size to industrial scale in close collaboration with the Xyrofin R&D team, then engineered and managed the execution all the way to commissioning and start-up of the plant in about 2 years.

“The understanding of technology development coupled with up-scaling competence that Neste Engineering Solutions brought to the project was of major value to us.“

Vesa Kurula, Managing Director/Plant Manager, Xyrofin Süssmittel-Produktion, Austria
Xyrofin production plan