Back to Sectors / Resources

Sugar Cogeneration

Renewable Cogen Asia has significant experience in the development of sugar cogeneration plant projects in Asia, including 2 modern high pressure cogeneration plants of size 41 MW both implemented by Mitr Phol Group in Thailand.

Most of the sugar cogeneration systems developed in sugar mills in early days were purposely designed with lower efficiency in order to utilise all the produced bagasse, as there was no scheme to sell excess electricity to the grid. However, in the last 15 years, there has been tremendous technological development in sugar cogeneration with the possibility of selling excess electricity to the grid.

In Southeast Asia, most of the sugar mills are very old. We have visited several sugar mills in Philippines, which are more than 50 years old. The sugar mills in Southeast Asia use very low pressure cycle for cogeneration plants and most of the mills are inefficient. In some of the sugar mills, upto 40 kWh electricity and upto 600 kg of steam are


consumed for milling every ton of sugar cane. As low as 30 kWh of electricity is produced from the bagasse obtained from the milling of one ton of sugar cane. Some of the sugar mills are installed even with the used cogeneration equipment. Since the industry is in the transformation stage, the future investment potential in Southeast Asia is high. There is a huge potential in the existing sugar mills to reduce the steam and electricity requirements for milling process. In new cogeneration plants, it is possible to generate up to 110-125 kWh of electricity for every ton of sugar cane milled.

In 2000, one sugar milling group in Thailand started developing the first modern sugar cogeneration plant with 67 bar steam cycle in Southeast Asia. Two 41 MW identical cogeneration plants were installed in two of their sugar mills. The plants started their operation in 2004. We were involved in the project right from the pre-feasibility stage and the performances of boiler and turbines were excellent. Following the success of these two plants, few more similar projects were implemented in Thailand.

There had been a phenomenal growth in sugar cogeneration in India for the past 15 years. India started implementing 67 bar cycle even fifteen years ago, when compared with SEA. Based on the experience gained and lessons learnt from the operation of those plants, several 87 bar cogeneration systems were also installed. Now, the industry is moving towards very high pressure systems of upto 110 bar. There are more than 25 such projects are under operation and various stages of implementation.

These days, ultra-modern power plants are being installed in Southeast Asia with lot of environmental protection measures, which are at par with power plants in developed countries. We have worked in several wood waste projects around the globe with sizes ranging from 1 MW to 36 MW. Refer our publication section for additional information on wood waste to power.

If careful and innovative project development, implementation and operation approachesare followed even from the initial stage, then, it is possible to reduce the overall project cost by around 20 to 30%, thereby, leading to considerable increase in IRR.

Market for boilers in sugar mills

Sugar mills in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam have high potential to upgrade their existing outdated and inefficient cogeneration plants with modern, efficient, high pressure systems. In most of the sugar mills, the existing cogeneration system ranges from 21 bar and 340 C to 42 bar and 400 C. Only a few sugar mills in these regions have implemented 67 bar and 490 C systems. However, there is a wide potential for very high pressure systems in the range of 87 bar and 510 C to 110 bar to 540 C. There are already several such projects operating in sugar mills around the globe.

For services/queries/comments related to sugar cogeneration, contact us.