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Journal of Scicnti fi c & Industri al Rcsearch

Vol. 58 , February 1999, pp 76-82

Energy Conservation in Sugar Industries*

A N Pathak
Council of Science & Technology, UP, Yi gya n Bhavan, 9 Nabi ull ah Road,
Suraj Kund Park, Lucknow 226 018, India

Suggestive measures for minimi zing energy and heat losses in Indian sugar industries are discussed. Suggestions are
enumerated to achieve the target of effecti ve conservation of energy, heat and fu el through modernization of equ ipments and
technology. Use of al ternat ive sources of energy like so lar energy, bioenergy, etc. for power generation and utihzati on of
byproducts of suga r industry by value additi on, to increase the profitabi lit y of t'his sector is also di scussed.

Introduction The target of sugar production and the installed ca-

pac ity needed to meet it for the 8th and 9th plan peri ods
Indi a is the top ranking sugar producing country in are given in Table 2.
the world. Yet average size of sugar factori es in our The energy requirement in various un its of a sugar
country continues to be undul y small. The capacity mill is given in Table 3.
range of sugar factori es varies from 400 TCD to 7000 Adoption of new systems and designs, as required for
TCD. The breakup of about 425 sugar factories accord- better performance and higher efficiency for improving
ing to th eir capac ity range is given in Table I. the economics of sugar industry, is l}' 'must' , as sug-
The sugar consumption in India is increasing at the gested by Sood 6,7.
rate of about 7-8 % per annum. The total intern al con-
Major Processes involved in a Sugar Mill
sumption in India by the year 1999-2000 is ex pected to
be 16.94 mi llion M.T. and per capita consumption is The units employed in a sugar mill are:
ex pected to grow to 16.75 kg per annum. Recovery in I. Juice extraction Plant (JEP)
the sugar mills varies from 9 to 12%. A reduction in tota l The juice ex traction plant in a cane sugar factory
sugar losses and energy consumption can be made pos- primari ly consists of sugarcane unloadin g, conveying,
sible throu gh implementation of n; odern equipment, cane preparati on and milling.
modern techno logy, newer systems and techniques. The 1.1 Cane Handling .- The cane unl oadin g can be
energy costs are ri sing steadil y and the ava il ab ility of done both manu all y and mechanicall y. The sugarcane is
fuel is becoming scarce. Therefore, the conservati on of mechanically unl oaded from tru cks and bu ll ock carts on
energy in sugar industry has become a matter of great a moving slate conveyer through mechanical unl oaders.
signi ficance. The suga rcane bagasse is a renewabl e Some sugar factories are also equipped with an arrange-
ment of truck or wagon trippl ers whi ch I ift the truck or
source of bioenergy . Many factories are using sugarcane
bagasse with so me add itional fu el to meet their energy
Table I - Break up of sug <lr fac tories of Indi a acco rdin g to
requirements. The usage of this additional fu el can be
their production capacity
avo ided by modern ization and energy conservati on in
sugar plants. The excess bagasse could be used as raw S.No. Si ze Ran gc, TCD Num bers

materi al for va ri ous va lue-added products. The other B ~ l ow 1250 75

by-products like filtercake and molasses can be used for 2 1250 140
production of alcohol and down-stream products which 3 125 i - 2000 80
can significantl y improve profitabi lity of the suga r in- 4 200 1 - 2500 50
d ustry 1-)-. 5 2501 - 3500 30
"Thi s paper \Vas presented by the author on the occasion of Energy (j Above 3500 50
Conservation Day, 14 Dec 1997, at Shak ti Bhawan , Lucknow

Table 2 - The target of sugar production and install ati on Table 3 - Energy requirement in different units of a sugar plant
capacity required for 8th and 9th Plan periods - COl/It!

S.No. Units Percentage

Plan/Period Target of Installed capacity
production required 3.2. Energy Saving
(million tonnes) (million tonnes) Alternatives
8/h Plall 3.3. Automation
1990-9 1 1147 1207 4. Sugar Cr ystallization 15-20 %
1991-92 12. 07 12.70 4.1. Energy Requirements at
Vacuum Pans
1992-93 12.17 12.8 1
1993-<:)4 Design Selection
12.78 !345
1994-95 1341 14. 12 Energy Savings
At Vacuum System
91h Plall
At Cooling System
1995-96 14.08 14.82
Continuou s Pans
1996-97 14.79 15.57
Pan Automati on
1997-98 15.53 16.34
Install at ion of
1998-99 16.30 17.17 Mechanical Circulators
1999-2000 17. 12 18.02 Molasses Conditioners
4.2. Energy Requirement at
Tab le 3 - Energy requ ireme nt in dilTerent unit s of a sugar pl ant
5. Sugar Centrifu gals 10-15 %
(Tota l Power-5000 kW)
1 5. 1. Energy Saving at
Continuou s Centrifugals
S.No. Unit s Percentage
5.2. Selection of Process
5. 3. Su gar Drying
I. Juice Extract ion Plant 40-45 %
1.1. Cane Handling 5-10%
54. 0"
Choice Mag ma
1.2. Cane Preparation 15-
5.5. Schemes of sugar
conveying and grading
13. Milling 25%
O. Steam Generation 5-10 %
0. of Mills
6.1. Efficient Usc and
Mill Speeds Generat ion of Steam
Pressure Feedin g Steam Press ure 42-45 kglcrn2g
Mill Tra nsmission Geari ng Steam Temperature 4 15C
Power Requiremcnt Des ign of Boilers
Automat ion Furnace Design
2. Juice Purilication Plant 10- 15 '1( Des ign of Accessories
Energy/Steam Sav ings Heat Recovery units
2.1. Jui ce Heating Bagasse Drying
2.2. Treatment of Jui ce 6.2. Boiler Operation
2.3. Separation 6.3. Boiler Automati on
3. Saving of Steam During :1 0% 01 tot al 7. Powel' Gene.-ation
Evaporation steam required
for sligar pl allt 7.1 . Coge neration of Powe r

3. 1. Arrangement Models 7.2. Cogenerat ion Models


wago n loaded with cane to an ang le fac ilitat ing direct Power Saving
di sc harge of sugarcane to th e co nveyer. From energy
During th e millin g of cane the power is co nsumed by
saving view point, trippl er arrangement is superi or to
the following un its:
(i) Bagasse
1.2 Preparation - The sugarcane is prepared into a
(ii) Fri cti on between shaft s and bearin gs of the rollers
fibrou s mass with the help of a set of cane cutting kni ves (iii) Fricti on between bagasse and trash plate
or shredders. The bulk density of the whole cane is about (iv) Fricti on of scrapers and toe of the tras h plate
150 to 160 kg per cubic metre, whi Ie that of prepared again st the roll ers, to which should be added th e work
cane ranges between 350 and 475 kg per cubi c met re. of di slodging the bagasse at these points
A good preparati on or cane is essenti all y required for (v) In drivin g of the intermediate carriers, and
(i) a hi gher through put, and (ii) reducing energy co n- (vi) Gea rs .
sumpti on durin g the process of juice ex tracti on. In- The consumpti on of power can be calcu lated by the
stalled power req uiremen t for preparation of can e can formul ae given in Handbook of Cane Sugar Engineerin g
be 50 to 100 HP tonnes fibre per hour. It is proved th at by Dr E Hugo!. The sugar factory owner has to necess i-
app licali on of hi gher power in cane preparati on res ults tate care in selecti on of the hydrauli c loading at the mi li s,
in ove ra ll reducti on in power and hi gher ex tracti on in selecti on of mill bea rin gs, des ignin g and s ttin g of the
the cane mi li s. However, it is to be optimi zed. It has also tras h plate, des ignin g of th e intermediate carri er gea rs,
been proved th at a sequence of establishment of differ- etc, such that all these res ult in minimu m consumpti on
of power durin g milling operation. However, aut omat-
ent sets of cane kni ves results in proper cane preparati on
ion for co ntrolling the milling operations may result in
and redu cti on in energy co nsu mpti on.
impro ved suga r ex tracti on and reduced energy cost. The
The energy can be saved by proper use of electroni c
areas of automati on can be: feeding, co ntrol of mill
motors with 15 to 17% slip for dri ving cane kn ives.
speeds, applicati on of macerati on water fo r j ui ce extrac-
Automat ic electroni ca ll y regul ated cane feed ing equip-
ti on, etc.
ment helps in reducing th e power consumpti on. Steam
turbin e drives are not beneficial in cane preparati on and , Juice Purification Plant
therefore, th ese shou ld not be used.
1.3 MiLling Operatioll - The prepared suga rcane is The purifi cati on of juice in vo lves remova l of vari ous
passed th rough a set of 3 or 5 ro ll er cane mills for non-sugar inorgan ic salts, colloid s, organic acids, co l-
ex traction of cane juice by hi gh hydrauli c pressures . The ourin g matter, etc. Thi s is achi eved by heatin g of j uice
mill s are operated at a speed of 10- 15 mt/minute through and treatment wit h chemi cals li ke lime and sulphur and
separation of the prec ipitated impurities.
a steam or electri c drive with th e help of a set of
The equipments depl oyed are heat-exchange rs fo r
reduct ion gears. The cane ex tract ion plant co nsumes
heatin g of juice, equipment to prepare milk of li me ,
about 40 to 45 % of total mechani cal/electri ca l energy
sulphur di ox ide, etc., reactors, settl ers, clar ifi ers and
req uired in sugar pl ant - 15-20% for cane preparati on industrial fi lters. The poss ibili ti es of energy saving dur-
and the rest 25 % for ca ne milling operati on . ing these steps are:
Energy consumpti on can be optimi zed using 5 num- (i) Juice Healing - The ex haust steam from the
bers of ro ll s in 3-roller mill s, by adju stin g th e mill speed pri me movers or vapours led from the evaporat ors is
to 10-1 I metre per minute, by 2-roller pressure feeders used fo r heating of juice in a set of mu lt iple pass juice
and roughin g hard surfaci ng of the mill ro ller ce ll s, heat-exchan gers where it is heated from 20 - 25 C to
optimi sing operatin g speed of th e mill s in close proxim- 102C in one or more stages, depending upo n th e se lec-
it y or the rated speeds of the mill turbine and by using ti on of process of cleanin g. Substanti al heat energy in
in close mult i-stage helical gear boxes to imp rove trans- the form of latent heat released on condensati on of
mi ss ion efficiencies. However, the crow n pin ion wou ld steam/vapours is co nsumed for raising the temperature
remain a maj or loss of power during transmi ss ion whi ch of th e ju ice. Jui ce heaters should be properl y lagged and
ca n be overcome by in stal l ing individu al hydrauli c mo- condensate shou ld be suitably recyc led. The automati on
tors on each rol ler of a mi ll. of steam/vapour entry for heating ju ice lTlay result in

energy savings. Total steam consumption should be Further Reduction in Steam Consumption
optimized in a sugar factory .
It is possible to reduce further the consumption of
(ii) Treatment of Juice - The loss of heat during
steam through the use of thermo-compressors, mechani-
treatment of juice with various chemicals results due to
cal vapour recompressors, liquid heat-exchangers for
flashing and radiation practices of receiving juice in a
heating of juice, etc.
separate tank after treatment and before pumping to next
section of the plant. It should be discouraged. It should Automation
directly be pumped from the reactor itself which should
be properly lagged to prevent heat loss due to radiation . The automatic control sys tem of the evaporator
(iii ) Separatioll - Settlers or industrial filters retain should be des igned in such way that the syrup, leavi ng
the evaporators has a predetermined consistency. This
juice for 2 to 3 hours which results in appreciable loss
design should also take care of the time-lag between the
of heat and drop in temperature to less than 90 D C from
admittance of steam and exist of sy rup . The control of
more than 100De. This heat loss can be minimized by steam should also be linked with th e flow of va pours for
reducing the retention period and lagging the clarifier heating and boiling of juice.
shorter retention time with 30 to 45 minutes, which is The maintenance of consistent hi gher brix of syrup at
very common in the Australian Sugar Industry. It should the evaporators is essential in view of the multipl e effect
be adopted by sugar factories in India too . advantage at this station compared to the other stati ons
The factories in which the juice is filtered, the wash- like juice heating and pan boiling.
ing of filter cake should be done very carefully because
Sugar Crystallization
these washings have to be evaporated, resulting in more
consumption of steam. Minimum water for maximum Energy requirement by Va cuum pans
recovery of sugar from filter cakes should be used. This Through proper controls, energy can be saved at this
can be achieved by maintaining cake porosity, by appli- stage which is estimated to be 15-18% of the total en ergy
required in a sugar plant. This could be reduced to about
cation of water in a mist form from correctly designed
10-12% by taking remedial measures. The automation
nozzles and by maintaining the desired pressure at the
of vacuum pans can be of great advantage in reducing
wash nozzles.
both the mechanical/electrical energy as also the heat
The quantity of filtrate return in case of rotary vac-
energy requirement in this area of operation. Molasses
uum screen filters should be carefully controlled be- conditioners should be installed in line to feed from the
cause its excess may result in heat loss. It has been storage tank to the vacuum pans. The inline conditioning
observed that this quantity may vary between 7-20% on of the molasses avoids the chances of molasses cooling
cane weight basis and, therefore, it offers a good scope during the storage.
for reduction.
Energy Requirement by Crystallizers
The massecuite when discharged from the vacuum
The variou s configurations of evaporators' arrange- pans is received , stored and cooled in a set of cooling
ment are possible to evaporate juice from 14-16 Brix to crystallizers, the massecuite is subjected to either air
60-65 Brix, which accounts for about 30% of the total cooling in case of high grade massecuite or water cool-
heat requirement in the process. The evaporator arrange- ing in case of low grade massecuite. The degree of
supersaturation further increases during cooling, result-
ment should be such that it is possible to provide about
ing in deposition of more sugar on the avai lable/existing
130-150 kg of vapours per tonne of juice for heating in
crystal surface. The energy requirement of crystallizers
the juice heaters and about 230-270 kg of vapours/tonne
can be reduced by installing continuous vertical crystal-
of juice for crystallization of sugar in the vacuum pans. lizer which will then dispense with the use of a large
Therefore, a total of about 250-400 kg vapours/tonne of battery of batch crystallizers. A large number of facto-
juice additionally should be available from the evapora- ries are already making use of the continuous crystal-
tor station to meet the requirement of juice heaters and lizers and their use should be spread to as many more
vacuum pans . factories as possible.

Sugar CentriJugals boilers. Energy can also be produced from bagasse and
other byproducts of sugarcane industry8-IO
The energy consumption at centrifugals is also re-
lated to the selection of the process. The methods being
Energy Audits and Measurements in a Sugar
used for cooling, conveying and grading of sugar can be
modified to save energy. This primarily may require the
use of fluidized bed drier for cooling and conveying. The
An energy conservation project should be initiated
design of the graders can also be modified so that a fewer
with an energy audit of a sugar factory to achieve the
number of graders can handle the required through put.
most economical reduction of energy costs in order to
Steam Generation save the maximum energy at the lowest cost. The man-
ner in which the total energy utilization at the plant is
The factors responsible for efficient use and genera- managed between the different stages is determined by
tion of steam are: energy measurements, to be able to draw up an energy
Steam pressure balance for the plant.
Steam temperature The energy audit comprises
Design of boilers (a) Acquaintance with the energy systems of the
Design of accessories factory,
Design of furnaces (b) Infonnation collection regarding energy utiliza-
Use of heat recov,ery units, and tion, production, etc. to base these energy balance,
Bagasse drying. (c) Planning and execution of energy measurements,
The commonly used furnaces in the sugar factory and
boilers are : (i) Step grate furnace, (ii) Horse shoe fur- (d) Infonnation collection regarding the energy sys-
nace, and (iii) Spreader Stroker furnace . tems development to serve as a base for drawing up
energy savmg measures.
Boiler Operation

The automation in boilers can be of immense use in Energy Saving in a Sugar Plant
achieving a higher boiler efficiency and hence reduced
energy costs. The automation in boilers can include The various means through which the Indian sugar
cont rol of C02 and/or 0 2 per cent, steam flow, feed industry is attempting to save energy and/or fuel are:
control, excess air control and excess 0 2 monitoring (a) Efficient production of steam
system, etc . (b) Efficient use of mechanical/electrical energy
(c) Efficient use of steam
Power Generation This can be further elaborated as under:
Many sugar factorie in the world are producing or Maximum generation of steam per unit bagasse
co-generating additional power for tran sfer to the grid or fuel
or for use in the ancillary industry . Almost all factories Maximum generation of power set unit of steam
are equipped with turbo generators which are generally Minimum consumption of power
of the back pressure type. Live steam from the boilers is Minimum consumption of process steam
used for operating turbo generators set for producing Minimum line losses both on account of steam
power. Exhaust steam is used for this process . and power transmission
Maximum heat recovery through reclamation of
Use of Non-Conventional Energy in Sugar
a hot condensate, flashing, etc.
Minimum usage of chilled water.
Solar energy and bioenergy can be used in the sugar
industry for energy conservation. Water to be fed to Technologies of the 21st Century in the Sugar
boilers can be preheated through solar water heaters. Industry
Bioenergy in tenns of methane gas can be generated
from sugar/distillery effluents which could supplement Various new and futuristic technologies and proc-
the fue l consumption by 50% in oil-fired or coal-fired esses that could be used in (he sugar industry are:

(i) Cane Handling - Computerized cane weighing process steam consumption to about 30% on cane
machines should be used . The present mechanical against the present 45% in the Indian Sugar Industry.
weighing scale can be replaced by electrical scales . (viii) Sugar Crystallization - Use of continuous
(ii) Cane Preparation- Many factories in Australia vacuum cooling crystallization system developed by a
and South Africa use heavy duty shredders to achieve French Sugar Group (Beghisay) can improve the per-
the preparatory index above 90% and this should be formance of crystallization section .
evaluated under Indian conditions. (ix) Centrifugals - To save energy, Mis Krupp,
(iii) Milling Juice Extraction Technologies - Mis Germany, have developed a new design of continuous
Taxmaco Ltd, Calcutta has collaborated with Walkers centrifugals where two centrifugal baskets are mounted
of Australia for a new design of a constant ratio 5-roller on a common shaft and driven by a common motor.
(x) Sugar Handling - A firm in Bangalore has
mill. This design of the mill has capability to give higher
developed a sugar drier cum conveyor on the principle
milling efficiency and low energy consumption. It has
'\ of fluidized-bed drier. It has been installed in Karnat aka .
already been commissioned in a sugar factory in Tamil
The size of this equipment is 5m x 1.2m x 5m which can
handle up to 150 bags of sugar/hour.
The indigenous development in the field has not been
(xi) Steam Generation - The sugar industry can opt
lagg ing behind . Mis WIL, Pune, have developed self
for modem design of boi lers and new furnaces based on
setting 3-roller mills and a milling tandem of this design
following principles :
have already been commissioned in a sugar factory in (a) Boiler with membrane wall construction
Tamil Nadu. (b) Furnace design for mixed fuel
The possibility of adopting diffu sers in the cane sugar (c) Fluidized-bed furnaces
industry should be reevaluated from the view point of Ponni Sugars at Erode has installed a Igni Fluid make
capital cost, maintenance cost, energy consumption and boiler of 25 tonneslh capacity and 45 kg/cm 2 pressure
extraction efficiencies. which is very compact in design and is highly efficient.
(iv) Low Pressure Extraction System - The power It can use coal, sugar pith and lignite and other alternate
requirement of the system is claimed to be about 0.6 kW fuels too.
per TCD. The concept of tap power directly from coal is under
(v) Cane Sugar Separation Technology - The indus- development of BHEL and BARC, Bombay. it is esti-
try is rapidly replacing the steam turbine drives with mated that this technology can offer an overall effi-
variable speed DC drive, which results in fuel saving and ciently of 60% against 30% at present through steam at
gives a better flexibility in operational control. Hydrau- turbo generators .
lic motors for operating the mills can be a breakthrough (xii) Power Generation - The conventional method
for the sugar industry in India in near future. of producing power through back pressure turbines can
Modifications in design of other accessories like im- be replaced with production of power by extraction-con-
bibition equipment, etc. would also bring about saving densing turbines or by topping turbines. In this manner
in energy and costs. additional power can be produced for use in other indus-
(vi) Juice Treatmenl- Use of hydrogen peroxide for tries or for bleeding to state grid.
treatment and removal of colour in syrups has been Automation at various sectors of sugar plant shall
result in improved productivity, reducing sugar losses
found highly successful in Karnataka. This can be
and energy cost. The author affirms that if the above
adopted for a better removal of colour with reduced
mentioned improvements are incorporated, there could
sugar losses. The possibility to use short retention clari-
be 30% energy conservation in the sugar industry .
fier should be evaluated to avoid losses due to inversion.
Use of membrane filters and bag filters also offer good Conclusions
potential for achieving better quality of filtration in
future. Extensive studies have been conducted for c1ari- Recent developments in the sugarcane processi ng in
. 0 f"JUice b y mem b rane f'Iltratlon
. ))-) 3 .
the small scale sector have been reported by Gehlawat )4.
(vii) Evaporation - The combination of extensive There are a number of other actions and precautions that
vapour bleeding, condensate flashing and recirculation, can help to minimize energy and heat losses in a sugar
use of thermo-compressorsIMVR' s, etc. can reduce the plant. These include:

(a) All pipe lines, tanks which conveyor receive hot 2 A Master Plan for Modernization and Rehabilitation of the
juices, steam, bled vapours, etc. should be properly Sligar InduJt!}', Mauritius Chamber of Agriculture Specially
prepared for the Sugar Enquiry Commission , 1983-84.
lagged for avoiding radiation and condensation losses.
Similarly, all heat-exchangers should be lagged. 3 Dubey R S, Dther By-products Based Indllstries, Bhartiya
Sugar Directory, 1983-84.
(b) Pumps and motors should be carefully selected. it
has been seen that many factories install over size pumps 4 Sood R S, Staff Paper on Bye-products of Sligar In dllst I}'
(Sugar Expert to the Government of Mau ritius) 1983-85 (un-
to cater to any future requirements during expansion. published)
This is an incorrect approach and results in a recurring
5 Development of the By-product Industries, Proceedings ofAll
loss of power.
India Conference of Cooperati ve Sugar Mills, organized by
The type of pumps should be selected after matching National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd, New
the duty requirements with the performance curves of Delhi and National Cooperative Development Corporation,
the pumps to achieve maximum efficiency. The use of New Delhi, on 20th and 27th September 1989.
screw pumps, wherever required, would also result in 6 Sood H C, Modernization Programmes for Sugar Indu stry , in
saving of power'. Modernization of Indian Sugar Industry , edited by J K
(d) The slat and rake type conveyers should be re- Gehlawat (Arnold Publishers, New Delhi) 1990.

placed with belt conveyers, if possible. 7 Sood H C, A plea for redesigning sugar machinery to maxi-
(e) The power factor of the electric distribution sys- mize production of sugar at low cost , Ma lwrashtra Sligar,
tem should be maintained above 0.95 through use of
capacitors, wherever possible. 8 Sood H C, Staff Paper on Electric Genera/ion from Bagasse,
for Sugar Enquiry Commission, Government of Mauritiu s
(f) Hot condensate should be collected and suitably 19!D-1985 (unpubli shed).
recycled to the boilers or to the process. A proper recy-
9 Particle Board Proj ect based on Bagasse, Bhartim Sligar,
cling of the condensate can totally eliminate the use of
January 1990.
cold water in the process, and at the boilers. The flashing
10 Mallritills SlIgarcan e /3.v-prodllcts Stlldv, United Nations In-
of condensates should also be recovered.
dustrial Development Organi zation Report l' 81/24 Appendi x
(g) A proposal to generate electric power at 3 k Y or 4&5, Nov 1981.
11 kY should also be considered and high tension motors
II Godbole M S, Potential or mem brane app lication s in Indian
at all major consuming ends, to reduce transmission Sugar Industry, Proc Indo-EC Workshop (Organized by DST),
losses. 1989.

12 Pathak R N, Ruikar A M, Bopardik ar S V . Mal she Y C &

Gehlawat J K, Achieve high Sugar Recovery and Steam Econ-
omy in Sugar Indu stry Through Concentrati on of Secondary
The author is thankfu l to Dr (Mrs) Abha Srivastava Juice by R 0 , Chem Ind News, (1983) 259.
for her help in preparing the manuscript.
13 Gehlawat J K, Clarification of cane juice by the membrane
technology, Proc STAI Seminar, Bhubanes hwar (April 30
References 1995) pp 20-30.

By-products of Sugar Industry, Mauritius Chamber of Agri- 14 Gehlawat J K, New developments in sugarcane processing-
culture, Memorandum to the Commission of Enquiry into the A boon to mini sugar plants and kh andsari units, J Sci Ind Res,
Sugar Industry, 1983. 57 (6) (1998) 299-305.