The Sugarcane Industry: the Largest Global Thermal Renewable Sector

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21 November 2019 18:00 - 20:00
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The Sugarcane Industry : the Largest Global Thermal Renewable Sector

Dr Mike Inkson C.Eng., M.I.Chem.E, F.E.I.

A joint event with the IMechE Food and Drink Engineering Committee, Exeter University Renewable Energy Group and the IMechE Devon and Cornwall Area Committee.

Please book a free ticket to allow us to accurately plan for refreshments which will be complementary.

Event Timetable

This event will form 2 parts with networking and refreshments between the parts.

6pm - Part 1
6.45pm - Refreshments and networking
7.15pm - Part 2

Part I : Practical Implications of Thermodynamics for Generation and Cogeneration

The sugarcane industry is gifted with abundant energy from 'bagasse', the fibrous component of the cane.  It is used to raise the steam from which electricity is generated, the LP steam driving the sugar-making process thermally : i.e. cogeneration.

This paper explores the basics of generation and cogeneration in that context and the implications for the equipment used, particularly the boiler.  Although at first this seems irrelevant to the UK, in practice bagasse is typical of most renewable fuels to some extent or other so there are valuable lessons to be learnt.

Part II : Commercial and Environmental Factors

There is a temptation with all generation and cogeneration projects to push the boundaries of technology in order to maximise the output of electricity.  Drawing on the experience of the sugarcane industry it is possible to show that is far from commercially wise, both in terms of the high pressure end of the cycle and the low pressure end.

Many people see the industry as a dirty, highly polluting one but that would be inaccurate when looking at the modern industry.  Again there are lessons to be learnt for the UK but caution too when it comes to assessing the potential for electricity from fibrous fuels.


Dr Mike Inkson, CEO of Sugar Knowledge International Ltd and Thermal Energy Systems and member of the IMechE Food and Drink Engineering Committee.


University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
Daphne Du Maurier Building
Lecture Theatre A
TR10 9FE
United Kingdom

Contact Details

Ian Myers

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Alternative contact Helen Timpson
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