Embracing innovation

The world’s largest beet sugar factory is under construction in Egypt

Canal Sugar, a project for the largest beet sugar factory in the world, breaks all records. And BMA plays a key role in it: we are supplying the largest extraction plant ever built, and are responsible for its integration with the overall factory concept. In the Egyptian desert, southwest of the city of Minya, a truly extraordinary agro-industrial complex is taking shape: a huge area of about 76,000 ha for the cultivation of sugar beet, wheat and maize is irrigated with ground water from wells as deep as 200 m.

A factory with a special floor plan

At its centre are a beet sugar factory and refinery with a nominal processing rate of 72,000 t/d (first stage: 36,000 t/d) and an unusual floor plan. From beet washing to the refinery, the individual stations are placed one after the other, on an area measuring 60 m in width (enough for four extraction lines placed side by side) and up to 700 m in length.

In the tendering process for the beet end of the first development stage in March 2019, BMA won the contract for supply of two extraction plants, each with a nominal beet processing rate of 18,000 t/d. To permit processing 750 t/h of beet in a line, we are currently building the world’s largest cossette mixer (9 m diameter, 11 m long) and the largest extraction tower (13.6 m diameter, 26.68 m extraction length) from solid stainless steel.

Customer and solution focus

As has frequently happened in projects throughout BMA’s history, the customer asked us to move beyond the conventional and think outside the box. Project investor and chief designer Jamal Al-Ghurair, Managing Director of Al Khaleej Sugar Co LLC in the UAE, wanted all project stakeholders to embrace innovation.

Firstly, the intended processing rate would require larger equipment dimensions. Secondly, there would have to be less ancillary equipment (pumps, heat exchangers, vessels and conveyor units) and the minimum amount of steel. And thirdly, the design would have to result in an active volume that would be 15 percent greater than usual. The aim was to enable shipment, assembly and commissioning of two extraction plants by 2021.

From our workshops to the construction site

BMA has been working hard to complete the individual components for the extraction plants. Because of the large diameter, some frames for the extraction tower will have to be built and shipped in up to four parts. Shipment from Braunschweig will be by water via a North Sea port to Alexandria, and then by road to the construction site.