General Information

  • Type of industry: Food & Beverage 
  • Technology involved: High Temperature heat pump, Pentane, from GEA
  • Type of production: Beet Sugar

Partners involved

  • Knowledge Provider
  • Technology Provider
  • End-user

Demo-site location

The application – Tiense Suikerraffinaderij

Tiense Suikerraffinaderij is located in Tienen, 50 Km from Brussels and it produces sugar from beets for the industry and for everyday consumption.

Production site of Tiense Suikerraffinaderij

The production process goes through six main stages:

  • Harvesting the beets

The beets are harvested mechanically and transported to the factory where they are washed with water under very high pressure and then grated into very small pieces so to ease the sugar extraction.

  • Diffusion

When the beet slices are submerged into the warm water, the sugar diffuses into the cells of the beet flesh in the water. To make this process more efficient, TS developed the Continuous Diffusor, made of big cylinder-shaped drums which are divided into compartments. In these drums the slices are driven forward by the heavy current. The water that has taken on more sugar, the so called extraction fluid, is captured at the end of the drum.

  • Liming, carbonation and filtration

The extraction fluid contains not only sugar, but also a lot of impurities that are eliminated through slaked lime and carbon dioxide which binds with the chalk to create calcium carbonate, fixing the impurities and depositing them.

The calcium carbonate and the impurities are filtered and the result is a transparent fluid that contains 12/13% of sugar.

  • Evaporation

To increase the sugar concentration, the juice is damped. The evaporation installation contains a number of high columns which are grouped into a number of evaporation bodies containing steam at different pressure.

  • Crystallization

The evaporation of the syrup continues in the cooking equipment under vaccuum. This causes saturation and thus, the creation of sugar crystals. After a number of cooking and centrifuge stages, crystal sugars and refined sugars are created.

  • Packaging and stocking

As where sugar production is a seasonal culture, sugar consumption lasts the whole year. The major part of the produced sugar has to be stocked for a while in silos where the sugar stays dry and clean. From these silos, the sugar is divided or via bulk or via the packaging workplaces.

The technology – GEA Refrigeration Germany

Within the SPIRIT project, Tiense Suiker will integrate a high temperature heat pump from GEA in the core of the process with the aim of contributing to the possible future full electrification and decarbonisation of the production process.

Knowledge Provider – Danish Technological Institute

The Technological Institute’s role in the demonstration at Tiense Suiker consists of several tasks, including taking care of communication between partners and coordinating the integration of the heat pump, as well as providing technical knowledge. DTI is responsible for the delivery of the P&ID to be used in the project and assisting in the performance of the HAZAP and ATEX assessment. DTI will also be active in the development and execution of the test and measurement program for the heat pump and help determine the process and heat pump control strategy, including implementing optimization of a control strategy. During the project, DTI will create a steady state and a dynamic modeling of the heat pump with the aim of optimizing its performance and control.