XXth Symposium. In 20 years, what has changed in the sugar sector?

XXth Symposium

In 20 years, what has changed in the sugar sector?


REIMS, 28th of MARCH 2013

Maison des Agriculteurs, Reims



Association Andrew Van Hook

2, rue Léon Patoux, F-51664 Reims Cedex 2, France







8: 45 – Opening of Symposium


Session I: Evolution of the sugar sector policies: restructuring, sustainability and environment

Chairman: Philippe REISER, CEDUS, Paris, France

9:00: – Evolution of the structure of the sugar sector (size of companies, cooperatives …) Oscar Ruiz de Imana, CEFS, Brussels, Belgium

9:20 – Innovation for sustainability in cane sugar industry: Sugar-Ethanol in Brazil, Henrique Amorim, Fermentec, Piracicaba, Brazil

9:50 – Impact of Climate Policy on Biomass Carbon Capture and Storage Investment, Audrey Laude, Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne, France

10: 10 – Break, Posters and Exhibitors


Session II : Evolution of sugar crops

Chairman: Dr. Jan Maarten de BRUIJN, Südzucker, Obringheim, Germany

11:00 –Progress in beet cultivation on the agricultural and industrial levels during the last 20 years, Marc Richard-Molard, ITB, Paris, France

11:30Evolution of sugar cane varieties breeding, Bernard Siegmund, eRcane, La Réunion

12:00 – Break, Posters and Exhibitors

13:00 – Lunch


Session III : Technological innovation and the regulations constraint

Chairman: Dr. Martin BRUHNS, Pfeifer & Langen, Köln, Germany

15:00 – In 40 years, what has changed in the W European cane sugar sector Luis Bento, Porto, Portugal

15:30 – Evolution of sugar process control: Integrated Advanced Automation, Philippe Fuchs, Putsch, Germany

15:50 – Evolution of technical aids used in evaporator cleaning: Intelligent Fouling Monitoring and Prediction, Jean-Michel Chauwin, Buckmann, Belgique

16:10– Panel Discussion: [Discussion by representants of Syndicate, producers, supplier s…]: New constraints faced by the sugar industry (regulation, safety, environment).

17:00 – Conclusion 


Simultaneous translation




Paper # 1

The Evolution of the Structure of the Sugar Sector in the last 20 years (1992-2012)

Oscar Ruiz de Imana

CEFS, Bruxelles, Belgium


Since 1992 a lot has changed in the structure of the EU sugar sector. Although factory closures have taken place regularly in the EU during the entire period, the pace of the sector restructuring became significantly greater after the adoption of the 2006 reform of the Common Market Organization (CMO) on sugar. Bigger and more efficient factories, less employees and less beet growers, bigger sugar companies, geographical concentration of production and consolidation of the industry are some of the most visible changes in that period.

The increasing contribution of farmers’ co-operatives to EU sugar production and the diversification of activities at or around sugar factories (e.g. the creation of bio-refineries that participate from the new bio-economy) are some of the less visible and yet very important changes that have also taken place in the sector.



Paper # 2

Innovation for sustainability in cane sugar industry

Henrique V. Amorim



In the last twenty years the Brazilian sugar industry not only improved in size and numbers, but also in innovation, technology and sustainability. The main areas that will be presented are the following:

The control and treatment of spent water had a significant contribution for the decrease in sugar loss but also for the sustainability of sugar production. Cogeneration of electrical energy from bagasse and improvement of boilers up to 85 bar. The certifications ISO9001, ISO 14001, SA 8000, OHSAS 18001, FSSC 2000. Production of VHP and VVHP sugar with no sulfur used in the process and decreasing cost and pollution in the refineries. The use of dolomite lime in clarification that decrease scaling, water use and energy. New equipments for juice concentration such as falling film evaporators and thermally accelerated short time evaporator (TASTE). Continuous vacuum pan with water use reduction. Syrup filters to remove black points, bagacillo, rust etc.

Investment for the well being of laborer of the plant.

In ethanol production, the improvement in asepsis decreasing the bacterial contamination to levels of 106 in fermented wort.

High gravity fermentation, reaching 16-18% (v/v) ethanol concentration in 17-19 hours with yeast recycling. In the last seven years, Fermentec developed a process called “Process Driven Selection” to select yeast strain for each plant. Today, six successful cases with yeast strain that dominate completely the other contaminant yeast during all season, will be presented.



Paper # 3

Carbon market uncertainties and the possibility of Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage in a beet sugar factory and distillery

Audrey Laude

Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne



Among the current toolkit of solutions considered to fight against climatic change, BECCS (Bio Energy and Carbon Capture & Storage) technologies are one of the most recent and challenging options. The original idea is the following: Combining bioenergy production with a system of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in order to improve the global carbon balance. CCS consists in three steps. Firstly, CO2 has to be separated from the exhaust gas stream of the firm. Secondly, CO2 is compressed and transported by pipelines and thirdly, it is stocked in geological formations (e.g. a salin aquifer)for ever.

CCS processes on fossil fuel sources of emissions, such as electric plants fuelled with coal or natural gas, are the most studied. Nevertheless, CCS on biomass sources, such as bioethanol production, bio-electric plant or pulp and paper mill, received increasing attention. The aim of this article is to provide insights on the technical and economical potential of BECCS in the case of bioethanol production through a literature review.

Indeed, bioethanol is likely to be the early application of BECCS. During the fermentation process, the stream is composed of carbon dioxide, water and very little impurities. It means that there is no need to separate CO2 from other gases, only dehydration and compression steps are necessary before the transportation step. Since carbon capture is normally the main cost of CCS, it results in a considerable reduction in costs. Moreover, carbon emissions are reduced by around 62% in this framework. If the energy production (heat and electricity) is provided by a natural gas boiler, CCS could also be added on this second emission source. Emissions are then reduced by around 114%, which means that the whole process saves more CO2 than it produces. This is referred as negative emissions. Unfortunately, this process is very costly because carbon capture is necessary on the boiler.

BECCS already exists as a demonstration project, but its development is hampered by the lack of appropriate regulations, low carbon prices and uncertainties about long-term targets of climate policy. Features for accurate BECCS incentives are thus investigated.




Paper # 4

Progress in beet cultivation during the 20 last years at the agricultural and industrial levels

Marc Richard-Molard

Directeur général de l’ITB


Beet cultivation in France in the past 20 years, showed remarkable progress on all technical compartments in contrast with the stagnation of most crops. In the first place, the yield per hectare has shown 30% increase from 10 t / ha of sugar bought to 13 t / ha. Sugar content also increased by 0.9 points. These increases have a strong impact on the competitiveness of the agricultural and industrial production. The causes of these developments are to be found in the right relationship between climate change and genetic progress. Genetic progress has yet had to respond to strong changes in pests and develop resistant varieties to Rhizomania, a disease that threatened production in many regions, which are generalized from 2006. Similarly, seed varieties developed nematode tolerant beet and black scurf. Generally such genetic changes negatively impact productivity potential. Further progress due to seed developers, is the development of seed activation techniques which have become widespread since 2007: they have allowed winning about two days of seed rising speed, which is very important during the most critical phase of the culture.

As for farming techniques, no-till practices have been developed in suitable soil types, especially in Champagne until it reached 30% of surfaces.

The practice of making intermediate crops after cereal and before beet was strongly developed under environmental constraints because these crops reduce leaks of nitrate to the water resource. They are now almost routine.

On fertilization of culture, the rational management of nitrogen through management tools such as Azobil then Azofert has significantly reduced the use of nitrogen fertilizer minerals, without slowing down the progress of performance, quite the contrary. Besides the savings and the reduction of water pollution, the energy balance is improved, as well as the balance of greenhouse gas emissions. Lowering of mineral nitrogen fertilizers is about 40% over the 20 years.

From the side of the plant protection products, the development of systemic seed treatment has been an important step in protecting against the Jaundice, with perfect efficiency which has reduced to almost nothing insecticide treatments by spraying which were much less effective and pose a greater risk of exposure to farmers. These treatments are used almost systematically avoiding yield losses to an average of about 6.5%.

Weeding is still a major constraint in terms of costs and working time despite the development of several new active substances (clomazone). A technological revolution has occurred in the USA with beet varieties resistant to glyphosate, which has greatly facilitated these operations. Unfortunately there is little hope for this technology in Europe. Perspectives open with ALS tolerant varieties, which could be available by 2018.

Regarding harvesting techniques, significant progress has been made in reducing the tare waste, mainly due to the implementation of unearthing. Tare waste rates were halved. Development covering and mulching silos in recent years reduces the risk of freezing beets.



Paper # 5

 eRcane, 80 years of cane variety designing: an experience exported in Africa


Directeur d’eRcane


eRcane since 2009, previously CERF, the private research center of Reunion sugar companies, was established in 1929 under the name « genetics Station Brittany » to implement a program for creating and breeding which the goal is to offer growers Reunion, varieties adapted to different basins of the island sugarcane.

From 1929 to the early 80s, almost all of the selection scheme took place in the resort of Brittany in the north of the island. It was only at the last stage of selection, the network of regional trials, the varieties were tested for their adaptability to widely varying conditions encountered around the island.

For thirty years now, an regionalized 5 stations selection is in place, supplemented by two new stations in 2008 and 2010.

Thanks to this device, with the varieties released by eRcane recent years, there has been production per hectare from 10 to 20% higher than the old varieties, and in some cases more than 30%.

With these results, eRcane which has many partnerships in Africa, offers to accompany professionals to sugar they develop for their production area, their own selection from seed cane from crosses made specifically for them .

In 2012, four sites were selected operational in Chad, Cameroon, Republic of Congo and Senegal. Between 2013 and 2014 are three new sites that will be launched in Côte d’Ivoire, in the three current production areas of the country.



Paper # 6

What has changed in West European cane sugar industry in the last 40 years?

Luis San Miguel Bento

Sucropedia, Porto


In the last 40 years a great technological and scientific change occurred in sugar industry, with new processes and equipment, new industrial sensors, more sophisticated and functional laboratory equipment, a better understanding on the chemical bases of processes and a fantastic development in informatics and communication technologies. These changes gave sugar technologists the opportunity to improve and innovate in cane sugar industry.
The changes , in West European cane sugar industry, in the last 40 years, are presented and analyzed, in each refining process section, from raw sugar to white sugar.

We are living now a historical moment in West European sugar industry. From the first sugar cane mill in Europe, to cane sugar refining, beet sugar industry with factories and autonomous refineries, we have now, a new reality: beet-cane sugar factories.

During the presentation, the question “What next?” will be discussed.



Paper # 7

Evolution of sugar process control: Putsch® Integrated Advanced Automation

Philippe FUCHS

Putsch GmbH


Putsch® commands decades of experience in the development and manufacture of equipment for sugar factories and refineries. We know the processes to make white sugar out of sugar beets and raw sugar.

This is the basis for holistic solutions which seamlessly connect the individual components of the entire plant and optimize the entire process.

The Putsch® international team of automation, process and electrical engineers commands highly specialized skills in the process technology of the sugar industry.

Together, they develop individual, custom-tailored solutions for your specific requirements with major benefits like cost reduction through low investment and operating costs, maximum process safety and reliability as well as production and quality optimization.



Paper # 8

Evaporator Performance Improvement by Intelligent Fouling Monitoring and Prediction – First Implementation in France

Jean_Michel CHAUWIN



Knowledge about the cleanliness of evaporators can be an important tool in the planning and scheduling routine of sugar plants.  Cleaning is particularly expensive with respect to both throughput and chemical costs, so this knowledge stands to save a significant amount of money.  Hydro-blasting, unnecessary energy use and lost throughput are common avoidable costs.  This happens because of the many variables that affect the rate of fouling in an evaporator.  That, coupled with whatever errors there may be in instrumentation, create a rather daunting task for these plants.  Most of them choose safe, sub-optimized schedules that result in extra cleaning.  Most of these costs are preventable with a clearer picture of the state of the evaporators in these plants.

Anti-scaling and anti-fouling agents have proven successful in a variety of industries around the world, and some of our anti-scaling agents have cleaning effect.  Even with the right combination of products however, there is still the question of optimal application.  With the ability to keep track of the trends in evaporator performance, different products can be compared and combinations can be tested.  Increased fouling knowledge stands to benefit every style of operation without displacing any existing products or methods.

The Buckman Process Counselor aims to provide that knowledge by keeping track of process variables and instrument readings and distilling that information into a single number called the performance index.  The best insight in evaporator fouling during actual operation is determined from the heat transfer coefficient (HTC) in each evaporator stage.  Because fouling in the evaporator tubes is the dominant factor contributing to loss in efficiency, the HTC closely correlates with the amount of deposits inside the tubes.  A reduction in evaporator performance can be used to determine a cleaning schedule that minimizes energy, or product loss as well as cleaning costs. HTC can also be used to initiate higher dosage of Buckman anti-scaling agent to remove the first layer of scale and returning to normal operating conditions without having the necessity to stop the plant for cleaning.

The HTC is almost never available as a directly measured value.  Consequently, Buckman uses a combination of continuous measurements such as flows and pressures as well as manually sampled data such as temperatures, conductivity and evaporate density to arrive at a solid estimate of the HTC.  General heat transfer principles are used to normalize the HTC to standard conditions, which is monitored over time to determine evaporator performance.  Indirect knowledge of the chemical composition of the syrup to the evaporators- which is derived from solids contents, density, conductivity and volume reduction – can help predict the optimum time for the next cleaning.  Buckman has applied this method in the evaporator train of Corn Ethanol Plants in the United States and is confident that the basic approach can also be valuable in Sugar Plants.  We have compared HTC estimates with visual inspections obtained during evaporator cleaning and have found a good qualitative correspondence.

The Buckman Process Counselor provides a unique solution because it works with existing instrumentation and configuration to allow plants to find each of their unique optimums.  It achieves these goals in a non-intrusive and relatively inexpensive manner with ongoing support and updates via remote access.

BPC has been implemented successfully the last year in several corn ethanol plants in USA, an Oil Refinery in Canada, and very recently in a beet ethanol plant in France. Applications are for the control of various production elements such as heat exchangers in distillation plants, evaporators and stillage concentration units where the loss of HTC is critical.

BPC provides to operators and users two major functionalities, which are a prediction of the plant performance and a storage and follow-up of the historical data and calculations. The prediction of the best performance of the process equipment is based on the calculation of the performance index (PI) of the exchanger or evaporator ( calculation) that is a prediction of the limiting working conditions, the best time to switch or clean in accordance with cost (loss) and eventually, optimization of the dosage of the chemicals ( cleaning recipe, scale control, ….).

The storage and the follow-up of the historical data allow users and operators to do an analysis of the previous period or campaign of the various elements and adopting the best practice for the future. BPC is storing and can edit trends on historical data related to the PI, LMTD (log mean temperature difference), UA (heat transfer coefficient) and all other elements, which have been used for the statistical calculations.

BPC usage can be expanded toward the sugar and ethanol industry as a whole, with a direct interaction on heat exchangers, evaporators and concentration units independently of the kind of process, and use to pilot or optimize usage of chemicals used to prevent or clean deposits.








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