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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340053

Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and Bioproducts

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: First year in operating a mechanical detrasher system at a sugarcane factory in Louisiana

item Eggleston, Gillian
item SCHUDMAK, C. - Cora Texas Factory
item BIRKETT, H. - Audubon Sugar Institute
item WAGUESPACK, JR., H. - American Sugar Cane League
item Lima, Isabel
item GAY, J. - St Louis Planting Inc
item LANDRY, A. - Al Landry Growers
item STEIN, J. - Audubon Sugar Institute
item St Cyr, Eldwin
item FINGER, A. - American Sugar Cane League
item HULETT, R. - American Biocarbon Ct, Llc

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2017
Publication Date: 6/14/2017
Citation: Eggleston, G., Schudmak, C., Birkett, H., Waguespack, Jr., H., Lima, I., Gay, J., Landry, A., Stein, J., St Cyr, E., Finger, A., Hulett, R. 2017. First year in operating a mechanical detrasher system at a sugarcane factory in Louisiana (abstract). Sugar Journal. 80(1):30.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Over the past 2 years, a new prototype mechanical detrasher system was built at a Louisiana sugarcane factory by American Biocarbon LLC. It was built to remove sugarcane trash (top stalks and leaves) before processing, and for the manufacture and sale of value-added-products from the removed trash, such as biochar. The first commissioning year of operation was in 2016, specifically from November until the end of the Louisiana grinding season. A large factory study was initiated in 2016 to (i) provide crucial knowledge on how efficient the detrasher system is at removing trash at the factory and (ii) evaluate the effect of the detrasher system on factory operations. Three trials were undertaken on Nov 9, Nov 18 and Dec 15 with the detrasher system off and on for comparison. Combine-harvested cane from one variety HoCP 96-540 was supplied for the studies, with enough to purge the factory’s tandem mill of other cane and to process the selected cane for a total of ~30 min. Trash tissues (green leaves, brown leaves, top stalk or growing point region, soil and roots) and billet stalks were collected and analyzed, as well as prepared cane, bagasse, and mixed juice samples. At only 50-60 capacity, the detrasher was able to remove all different trash tissue types and up to 53% total trash. Furthermore, the detrasher system reduced the variation in trash values entering the factory which is important for engineering control. For every 1% decrease in trash there was a 3.4 to 4.0 tons/hr increase which translated into approximately 1 day less in grinding for every 1% decrease in total trash with associated dramatic savings in costs. The detrasher, generally, caused an improvement in most quality parameters in mixed juice but these were not always clear as the detrasher system only worked at ~60% capacity. More trials will be undertaken in 2017 to further evaluate the detrasher system at improved capacity (up to 100%) across the whole grinding season, with different sugarcane varieties, and under different environmental conditions. Loose versus attached trash will also be examined, and the fuel values of the bagasse produced.