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Project Development Programme (PDP) Philippines

Project Opportunity Fact Sheet: The Central Azucarera Don Pedro

Use of bagasse and filter mud from sugar mills for energy

The overview
Central Azucarera Don Pedro (in short Don Pedro) sugar mill is situated on the main island of Luzon in the
northern part of the country. The sugar mill shows an installed capacity of 12,000 tons of cane per day
(TCPD). The yearly production reaches 1.4 mio TC. Furthermore, it comprises a sugar refinery.

Energy processes
A traditional sugar mill is designed and operated in a way to achieve self-sufficient energy supply. The
sugar cane transforms its energy in the form of bagasse. Bagasse, which is generated after milling the cane
(the extraction of the sugar juice) is burnt in boilers, where steam is produced to run the mill drives and to
supply energy for the processing of sugar. A fraction of the steam is used to generate electricity. Limited
measures have been taken to economize on the consumption of bagasse. At the end of the crushing
season, extended refinery operation will depend on the amount of excess bagasse and considering also the
necessary fuel to run the boilers for the next season start up. In light of climate change, renewable energy
deployment and energy efficiency, the given resources should be utilized more efficiently. Bagasse at
sugar mills offers good potential for producing excess electricity out of the given biomass resources. With
the condition of existing regulations for independent power production and feed-in tariffs for power fed
into grids, the sugar industry can substantially contribute to the nations renewable electricity production.
Besides bagasse other potential resources for energy conversion are also generated during the sugar
production process: These include wastewater from the sugar mill and the filter mud or wastewater from
the alcohol refinery, which in all cases offer opportunities for biogas production.

The sugar industry in the Philippines is comparable to other cane sugar industries worldwide. In a nutshell,
the sugar mills can be described as traditional mills, where bagasse is burnt in low pressure boilers and
steam is delivered to the mill drives for the operation of the mill. Additional steam is converted to electricity
by backpressure turbines. Backpressure steam is then used in the sugar process (boiling house and refinery).
Traditionally associated with low conversion efficiencies, the high overall steam demand is a result of the
demand for steam turbines at the mills and the boiling house operation. In changing the roller mills to
electrical motors, steam could be reduced at the cost of additional electricity demand. In addition,
downstream efficiency measures, particularly in sugar processing in the boiling house and refinery, can also
reduce the overall steam demand. Two considerations are important as well: If the raw sugar mill is equipped
with a sugar refinery, this operation increases the demand on energy. A second option is the operation of a
distillery (fermentation of molasses into alcohol and distillation), which consumes a significant amount of
low pressure steam (if supplied by the sugar mill).

Key facts and figures

The existing situation

After a site visit and interviews the technical set-up of the sugar mill can be described as follows. The actual
total steam demand lies at 300 tph (tons per hour, installed capacity is 436 tph), out of which three boilers
operate with a pressure level of 400 psi (25 bar). One boiler operates at 900 psi (62 bar, for export). Different
turbines operate on the different pressure levels. The total installed capacity (operational) of the turbines is
at 31.9 MW. A production of 3.5% for filter mud on cane is reported. The filter mud should have a sugar
content of 2.8%. In the table below further figures are summarized. The specific steam consumption with
0.60 t steam per TC is rather high in international comparison. The electricity demand with 41 kWh/TC resp.
51 kWh/TC is also in the higher range. The demand from the refinery would need to be subtracted for an
exact comparison.

Interview results Don Pedro Calculations

Figures Units Figures Units
Capacity 12,000.00 TCpd 500.00 TCph
Production 1,400,000.00 TC/year
Bagasse on cane 28.65 % 143.25 t bagasse per hour
Moisture bagasse 50.15 %
Steam on bagasse n.a. t steam/t Bagasse 2.09 t steam/t Bagasse
Total steam 300.00 tph
specific steam n.a. t/TC 0.60 t steam/TC
Boilers 136.00 tph
400.00 psi
140.00 tph
400.00 psi
70.00 tph
400.00 psi
90.00 tph
900.00 psi
Power output 12.00 MW 41.14 kWh/TC
Power demand 15.00 MW 51.43 kWh/TC
Export Power 0.00 MW kWh/TC
Import Power 0.00 MW kWh/TC
Turbines 15.00 MW
400.00 psi
7.50 MW
900.00 psi
9.40 MW
900.00 psi
Filter mud on cane 3.50 % 420.00 t Filter mud per day
Sugar rest 2.80 pol% 2.00
Cogeneration opportunities
The main technical solution to raise the energy output of existing sugar mills is the increase in process
parameters, mainly of system pressure. Higher pressure means higher possible power production at similar
steam rates for the downstream process. For this, boilers and turbines need to be generally changed to higher
pressure rates. A significant classification might apply to different pressure regimes of 20 bar (the traditional
one), towards 40 bar (slightly improved), 70 bar or 100 bar as the range which could be provided by a sugar
mill. The turbines then should be changed from the usual backpressure turbines to condensing-extraction
turbines, which allow a cogeneration mode with a high electrical efficiency. In the following table model
calculations are shown, which estimate the total installed power and the export electricity figures.

Description Don Pedro Unit

Milling/Production 1,400,000 TC/y
Installed Capacity
base case, 20 bar 23.70 MW
increased pressure, 40 bar 34.00 MW
high pressure, 70 bar 57.30 MW
higher pressure, 100 bar 61.80 MW
Export electricity
base case, 20 bar n.a. kWh/TC
increased pressure, 40 bar 27.22 kWh/TC
high pressure, 70 bar 73.07 kWh/TC
higher pressure, 100 bar 85.26 kWh/TC

Besides the base case, which describes the present situation, the sugar mill could increase the total installed
capacity to 35 MW at a medium pressure level and up to maximum 60 MW if a high pressure level is
selected. As a result, exportation of electricity is significant, as can be seen in the table. On the medium level
some 30 kWh/TC can be exported, on a high level more than 80 kWh/TC.

Additional biomass
The sugar mills are only in operation during the harvest periods. These last for approximately 6 months to a
maximum of 8 months. New biomass power plants with high specific investment costs should run
continuously to return the investment (minimum of 7,000 hours per year). During the rest of the year
bagasse is not available. If multi-fuel boilers are installed, other biomass materials can be used as
supplemental fuel out of the season. The fuel source could be waste from the sugar cane fields or other waste
materials like rice husk or rice straw. Another option is the production of energy crops (energy cane, grasses,
short rotation forestry etc.).

Biogas from filter mud

A possible resource for energy generation is the use of filter mud for biogas. In the following table the
volumes of filter mud are assessed. For Don Pedro there are 420 t per day available. Filter mud is generated
during the raw sugar production process. After the extraction by the mud press the filter mud comprises
approximately 70% to 80% of moisture. The solid parts contain ash (minerals from the field and fertilizer),
proteins (wax from the cane), fibers (from bagasse) and sugar (remains from the process). Laboratory tests
with this material have shown a biogas production potential in a range of 20 to 80 m3 per t of fresh material.
This is one order of magnitude less than expected by normal biogas substrates. Up to now there is no
widespread technical application for biogas from filter mud. According to an analysis done by PSMA, filter
mud consists of some 25% ashes, 1.5% proteins (as nitrogen), 0.28% fat and some 35% fibers on a dry basis.
The remaining sugar content for Don Pedro was reported with 2.8% only. The average in the Philippines lies
at 3%. Biogas can be produced from protein, fat and carbohydrates. According to general assumptions, the
filter mud should yield some 100 litres biogas per kg of dry material or 25 m3 of biogas per t of fresh material.
This figure is at the lower end of international comparison. Reason why is the high ash content and the low
content of fat and protein. The solid filter mud is not suited for direct utilization in a CSTR-system (complete
stirred tank reactor). It needs to be diluted by liquids down to 10% of dry matter or less. Sources can be the
wastewater from the sugar mill or the effluent from the distillery operation (vinasse). The rough calculation
reveals a potential for biogas from filter mud in a range between 700 to 1,500 kW. This is less than the
potential from bagasse and from additional biomass.

Description Don Pedro Unit

Filter mud 3.50 %
Milling capacity 12.000,00 TC/d
Amount of filter mud 420 t/d
at 20 m3 biogas/t fresh 735 kW**
at 40 m3 biogas/t fresh 1,470 kW**
**with biogas of 6 kWh/m3 and electrical efficiency of 35%

Financial viability
An investment opportunity exists if the produced additional power can be sold to the public grid operators or
to other industrial customers. Usually this option calls for an existing feed-in law and/or similar procedures
and legislation for independent power production. Model calculations have shown that biomass power plants
could produce electricity at prices that are below the proposed feed-in tariff (approx. 16.5 USct/kWh) in the
Philippines. The financial situation at Don Pedro shows the effect, that the technical background would call
for a large capacity.

Description Don Pedro Unit

Production cost
base case, 20 bar n.a. USct/kWh
increased pressure, 40 bar 22.55 USct/kWh
high pressure, 70 bar 17.82 USct/kWh
higher pressure, 100 bar 16.40 USct/kWh
base case, 20 bar n.a. %
increased pressure, 40 bar 6.35 %
high pressure, 70 bar 10.55 %
higher pressure, 100 bar 12.04 %
With additional biomass Production cost
base case, 20 bar 27.69 USct/kWh
increased pressure, 40 bar 13.96 USct/kWh
high pressure, 70 bar 10.24 USct/kWh
higher pressure, 100 bar 10.13 USct/kWh

Due to the production scheme, at the mill the capacity is underutilized at times. A more detailed financial
evaluation would result in exacter figures based on site-specific conditions. The calculated internal rate of
return (IRR) shows acceptable ranges for high pressure options. The economic performance is enhanced if
additional biomass is generated and the power plant runs throughout the year. A total operation time of
7,000 hours and a biomass price of 50 USD per t were assumed in that case.
Project opportunities
The sugar industry in the Philippines is open to investors or joint ventures. Business models, such as build-
own-operate-transfer are possible and considered an option by the sugar millers.

Turnkey solutions
For cogeneration opportunities the ultimate solution is a turnkey biomass power plant. The technology
option would be a multi-fuel boiler and a condensing-extraction turbine at a higher pressure level of at least
40 bar, preferably in the range of 70 bar to 100 bar.
Based on further engineering details, a technical solution for the use of filter mud as standalone operation or
in connection with other wastewater sources could be offered as turnkey option.

Components for biomass power plants and biogas systems

Besides complete power plants, there are promising opportunities for delivery of key components for the
successful operation of the designed plants. These key components are high-tech applications in the whole
technical field including automation and control.

Engineering services
Prospects are there for engineering services for planning and supervision of investment projects.

Biomass logistical chain

In the area of additional biomass generation the main needs are for the logistical chain for biomass from the
fields towards the proposed power plant (collection, harvest, baling, compacting, transport, preparation etc.).

Contact details
For further information, please contact Markus Dietrich (, Project Development
Programme (PDP), GIZ.

The Philippine Sugar Millers Association (PSMA) based in Metro Manila can facilitate and initiate first
Contact: Room 1402 Security Bank Centre, 6776 Ayala Ave., Makati City 1226, Philippines, Phones: +(632)
891-1138; 891-1202, Fax: 891-1144, email:, Website:

Pictures 1-3: Werner Siemers

* The information provided has been gathered in the context of the Renewable Energy Project Development Programme (PDP)
Philippines. The programme is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf
of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The programmes objective is to support the market
development of renewable energies in SE Asia by fostering sustainable German-Philippine business partnerships. This fact sheet is
developed as part of a series of project briefs learn more about potential showcase projects and renewable energy business
opportunities in the Philippines. Liability claims through the use of incorrect or incomplete information are excluded.