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ABB drives and motors to ensure energy efficiency at the world’s biggest beet sugar factory

Energy-saving variable-speed drives and efficient permanent magnet motors will help Canal Sugar to reduce energy consumption at its world-class factory in Egypt.

Canal Sugar is a major new agro-industrial complex located west of the city of Minya, around 240 km south of Cairo. It will grow sugar beet and process it into sugar, with sugar production scheduled to start in 2021. The total investment cost for the complex will be around $1 billion. ABB will deliver energy-efficient variable-speed drives (VSDs) and motors to run the factory’s 15 batch and ten continuous centrifuges, which play a central role in the sugar process. ABB will also provide commissioning services to ensure an effective and trouble-free startup. 

“Our objective is to construct a world-class factory with a state-of-the-art production system,” says Mr. Jamal Al Ghurair, Chairman of Canal Sugar. “With this system, we aim to increase the number of cycles, raise output, and reduce energy consumption by 25% per tonne of massecuite when compared to traditional machines.”

Regenerative operation saves energy

For the batch centrifuges, Canal Sugar has ordered a package consisting of an ACS880 multidrive, 15 air-cooled permanent magnet (PM) motors, a 3000 kVA dry transformer and cabling. The multidrive system is customized for regenerative operation, which will save energy by transferring energy generated by centrifuges in the braking stage of the cycle to those that are accelerating.

“The regenerative multidrive is a proven solution that delivers substantial energy savings with centrifuges. It’s an unbeatable combination with our permanent magnet motors,” says Ahmed Radwan, Lead Business Manager for the Middle East and Africa Region for ABB’s Motion business.

The selected PM motors feature IE4 efficiency. Their wide speed range and ability to deliver high torque, even at very low speeds, make them an ideal match with Canal Sugar’s requirements for driving the batch centrifuges. In addition, they have a high power factor of 0.97 that will not only save energy but also help to maintain network quality and thereby ensure stable operation of applications in the factory.

Ultra-low harmonic drives help to ensure process reliability

The ten continuous centrifuges will be powered by ACS880 single drives and process performance induction motors. Canal Sugar has opted for ultra-low harmonic drives in order to avoid disturbances in the network and ensure high reliability in the sugar production processes. The process performance motors can be individually tailored to meet the demands of the application.

“Our technical consultants worked with Canal Sugar to ensure that it is getting exactly the right ABB products for the new factory’s applications, and we will also provide comprehensive after-sales services to keep everything running smoothly,” Radwan states.

Canal Sugar is an Egyptian joint stock company. Its major shareholders are Jamal Al Ghurair Group, which possesses more than 25 years of best-in-class sugar processing knowledge, trading and supply chain experience, as well as Al Ahli Capital Holding, the investment banking arm of the National Bank of Egypt, with a portfolio of committed investments in agriculture, F&B and petrochemicals, and Murban Energy Limited, a UAE-based investment fund with a main focus on the international energy and hospitality sectors.

Canal Sugar is a large project providing up to 50% of its feedstock containing sugar beet from their own farm. The company aims to achieve the world’s best potential yield of sugar beet by implementing the latest farming practices and using modern technology on the farm, while providing agronomic guidance to the neighboring farms. The premium white sugar produced is going to be stored in the world’s largest conditioning silo.

In addition to drives and motors for the centrifuges, ABB is also supplying softstarter panels, as well as customized distribution transformers that meet the power requirements of the agricultural farm.

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Batch centrifuge driven by ABB’s multidrive. (Source: Canal Source)

Irrigation of sugar beats. (Source: Canal Sugar)

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