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Sweet Sorghum Processing Plant

During the implementation of various energy projects, it became clear that biomass-based energy production in Hungary will become efficient if new, promising crops are included in the portfolio of traditional field crops. This is how sweet sorghum, a crop grown in many countries around the world, including India and Brazil, came into the picture.


Between 2008 and 2013, Coopinter Kft, as the leader of a consortium with the Budapest University of Technology, Nitrokémia Zrt and the Agricultural Mechanization Institute, carried out research and development with state support within the framework of the National Technology Tender “Integrated agricultural production, storage, processing and logistics system of sweet sorghum”.

The research and development covered the variety experiments regarding sweet sorghum, the technology and machines of field production and harvesting, the possibilities of industrial, food and feed utilization of the crop, the development of processing technology, the utilization of by-products, the energy-biotechnological combination to carry out a study. As a result, a complex solution has been created in which all elements of sweet sorghum can be utilized.

After the completion of the tender, sweet sorghum cultivation experiments continued for several years, where in addition to cultivar experiments, we further investigated the effects of different soil types, tillage, nutrient supply (fertilizers), temperature and precipitation on green mass and sugar content.

We prepared the construction design of the first sweet sorghum processing plant and developed the range of food products that can be prepared from the sweet sorghum slit in the laboratory. A small biomass power plant designed to meet the energy needs of the plant was licensed working on the press residue of the sweet sorghum stem (baggasse).

We participated in the preparation and elaboration of a project aimed at utilizing the results of the research carried out within the framework of the R&D tender, on the topic “Industrial development based on the innovative processing of sweet sorghum based on sugar production traditions in Szerencs”. The essence of the project can be formulated as follows:

The agricultural entrepreneurs in the area plan to grow sweet sorghum on about 2,400 hectares, the product of which, the chopped stalk, will be delivered to the sweet sorghum processing plant during the 80-90-day campaign period of the harvest. Here, the stem is further shredded, its sugar content is recovered by extraction, the accompanying substances are removed from the resulting aqueous sweet solution by filtration, and then the solution is evaporated and stored in a tank farm.

After pressing and extraction, electricity is generated from the leftover stem residue, the baggasse, the combined heat and power is used partly for evaporation and other operating needs, and partly to meet the heat needs of the related municipal project. The dried bagasse not used during the campaign period is stored and used for electricity generation during the 

The sugar concentrate stored in the tanks is used to make a natural syrup containing fructose, glucose and sucrose, which does not require a sugar quota. Part of it is intended for direct consumption by the public and another part for use in large food processing plants. The mixture of the resulting ash and the salts separated from the product could have been used as a soil improver and the filter cake, after proper processing, as animal feed.

The project description, the business plan, the environment study, the World Heritage Impact Study were approved, and the project company received a building permit.

Although the investment has not materialized, existing construction design documentation may form the basis of a similar investment, most likely, abroad.

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