Case study: retrofitting a small maple syrup evaporator to work with woodchips

Biomass burner retrofitted on a maple syrup evaporator Evaporating maple sap to produce maple syrup is an operation with high energy need. On classic firewood fueled evaporators, the operator has to load new logs in the firechamber up to 12 times each hour. This means that there is a lot of man-hours that are used for that operation. Another way is to use a propane or oil-fired evaporator, which will be easier to use, but will have a catastrophic carbon footprint.

Sugar shacks have naturally a lot of wood at disposal as they have to clean their woodlot annually to ensure a quality production of maple syrup. Therefore, using that resource without the trouble of having to feed the evaporator manually would be a modern and environmental-friendly way to produce maple syrup.

In March 2019, Säätötuli fitted one of its automated biomass burners on an evaporator at the sugar shack La Sucrière.

The flame of the biomass burner goes directly inside the fire chamber of the maple syrup evaporator

For this first installation, the evaporator was fitted with a Säätötuli Strong 420 biomass burner. Burner output is 272 921 BTU/hr (80kW). The Säätötuli Strong 420 silo is big enough for about 2 to 3 hours of full power with woodchips.

Säätötuli C110 control automation for biomass maple syrup evaporator

The C110 automation system allows to optimize the combustion depending on the fuel. The automation has a 2-line digital display with easy up/down navigation in the menu. Automation language is available in English or French.

The system has a switch that puts the burner on idle when changing the pans. The machine has a 3-phase motor but we can provide an electrical cabinet that generates the 3-phase current from 240V current (L+L+N).

Efficient maple sap evaporation with the retrofit biomass burner installed on the evaporator

During the first sugar season, the evaporator had an estimated evaporation rate of 25 gallons/hour with locally produced woodchips.

Regarding the energy consumption, one cubic meter of woodchips contains enough energy to produce about 17.9 liters/3.9 gallons of maple syrup.

No visible smoke or smell at the chimney whereas lots of water steam flies out of the sugar shack

Like with other Säätötuli burners, there is no visible smoke nor smells at the stack. As you can see on the picture, only vapor goes out from the sugar shack, the chimney output is clear as air.

For the 2020 season, La Sucrière will change the silo for Metri2 model to increase the number of hours between fillings.

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