Reasons for slow genetic improvement in sugarcane relative to other crops

Phillip Jackson

The rate of improvement in sugarcane commercial yields in recent decades has been low relative to sugar beet and some other major crops. This is due in part to a relatively slower rate of genetic improvement in sugarcane. Sugarcane breeding programs worldwide have long used a general breeding system which no longer appears well suited to achieving fast inter-generational genetic gains (parental improvement) in modern breeding germplasm. Examples of major innovations in breeding system design being tested are not clearly apparent. From an institutional perspective, sugarcane breeding is conducted by greater than 40 national level programs, owned and directed by local sugar industry clients and/or governments. By contrast, breeding of sugar beet and some other major crops is by companies or organisations whose core business or expertise is crop improvement, often multi-national and large in scale, and often operating in a competitive environment; and these arrangements collectively are perhaps more conducive to major and effective innovation than in sugarcane. Sugarcane is less attractive to companies specialising in crop breeding and genetics because protecting plant variety intellectual property rights and ensuring ongoing sales of top varieties would be challenging in most sugarcane industries. It seems likely that current conditions in relation to sugarcane breeding and recent trends in productivity gains may persist, and therefore that sugar beet may become increasingly competitive with sugarcane in future in terms of sugar production cost.

2020 (145) 613–622
Language: ENG

Sugar factory audits, debottlenecking and efficiency improvement

Bernard Coûteaux

This paper elaborates on the key solutions offered by DeSmetEngineers&Contractors (DSEC) to optimize the efficiency of cane sugar producing and processing facilities. In order to meet customer needs, DSEC offers proprietary predictive models built using the latest versions of specialized software. These models allow factory managers to envision the whole picture of increased operational and capital efficiency before it becomes reality. An integrated energy model and the CAPEX/OPEX evaluation method are discussed as ways to estimate and optimize costs, both for new greenfield projects and revamping of existing factories. The models demonstrate that factory capacities can be successfully increased using equipment that is already available. Special attention is paid to crystallization and centrifugation process simulations and the potential improvement of the global energy balance. One case study shows the transformation of a beet sugar factory into a refinery to process raw cane sugar after beet crop season and the second case shows the integration of a refinery into a cane sugar factory. The primary focus of the article is optimization of the technological process through predictive modelling. DSEC’s suggested solutions, which lead to great improvements in a plant’s efficiency and its ability to obtain very low energy consumption, are discussed.

2020 (145) 607–612
Language: ENG

Vinasse incineration with bagasse as a supporting fuel

S. Awasthi; A. Tewari; L. Gunasekaran

In India vinasse is mostly handled through bio-composting or bio-methanation, but large quantities are still discharged. Incineration can contribute to the steam and power production of the factory. Vinasse has a low calorific value not high enough to sustain combustion by itself. Hence, it requires a support fuel to enable sustainable combustion and meet reasonable plant efficiency. Incineration boilers used earlier were typically designed with coal as the support fuel. Biomass such as bagasse is a better choice as support fuel since it is a much cheaper and easily available. The successful development of such boilers with bagasse as the support fuel is outlined.

2020 (145) 602–606
Language: ENG

Designing an evaporator station with effects consisting of two or more vessels

Piotr Lenard

Analysis and comparison were carried out for evaporator stations having a 4th effect consisting either of two falling-film type vessels or two vessels of different designs – one Robert and one falling-film. The influence of the order, in which two apparatuses are installed in a serial layout in the 4th effect on the evaporation efficiency was analysed. A 4th effect consisting of 2 vessels was also compared to a 4th effect consisting of one vessel. The characteristics of 4th effect with one apparatus are used as a reference point for this analysis. Significant differences were found in the heat exchange efficiency of the analysed variants. It is worth carrying out an analysis when designing the modernization/extension of an evaporator station in order to obtain an optimal layout under specific conditions.

2020 (145) 595–601
Language: ENG

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