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Cane separation - an option for industrial-scale diversification from conventional sugar cane processing

A cane separator able to process 60 000 t cane/year has been tested in Jamaica. The working principle is shown in a diagram, and processing of the two products derived from separation of the sugarcane stalk (pith and rind) is discussed. Recovery of sugar must have first priority, in order for the system to be economic. Processing of the pith portion involves extraction by a twin-screw press, mechanical (centrifugal separator) and/or chemical (liming/sulphitation) purification, and falling-film evaporation, leading to direct production of non-centrifugal sugar or to production of cane juice beverage or table/industrial syrup. Options for charcoal production from the rind + extracted pith are outlined. The economics of a scaled-up plant (capacity 136 000 t cane/year) are calculated and discussed

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