Mr McLeod said the two-year collaboration would see sophisticated boiler control techniques applied in a sugar mill.
Mr McLeod said the two-year collaboration would see sophisticated boiler control techniques applied in a sugar mill. Peter Carruthers

Boiler project to improve sugar mill performance

WILMAR's Proserpine mill will soon be leading the way in the boiler efficiency stakes.

Wilmar Australia is partnering with world renowned researchers on a $700,000 project to improve the reliability and efficiency of its mills.

Led by Emeritus Laureate Professor Graham Goodwin from the University of Newcastle, the research project will utilise more advanced control techniques on bagasse-fuelled boilers at Wilmar's Proserpine Mill.

Bagasse is a sugarcane residue that is burnt in boilers to produce steam for factory operations and electricity co-generation.

Wilmar Sugar general manager of operations Mike McLeod said the new control techniques would lead to more stable boiler operations, better overall factory reliability and improved sugar production.

"We're always looking to improve the performance, safety and reliability of our mills, and boilers are at the heart of our factory operations,” Mr McLeod said.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to partner with internationally recognised experts on a project that will benefit the whole Australian sugar industry.

"By maximising the performance and reliability of our boilers, we can reduce sugar losses in the factory and improve overall sugar production. It will also improve the scope for generating electricity from biomass.”

Professor Goodwin will head up the project and Swedish control systems expert Professor Karl Astrom will be principal investigator.

Mr McLeod said the two-year collaboration would see sophisticated boiler control techniques applied in a sugar mill.

The Australian Research Council has awarded Professor Goodwin $240,000 in funding under its Linkage Projects scheme. Wilmar Sugar is contributing $50,000 plus about $400,000 in in-kind support.