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Maple Sugaring Equipment
Energy-efficient technologies reduce boiling time, save fuel, and boost production for maple sugaring operators.
Vermont accounts for more than 40% of all U.S. maple production, with well over 1,500 operators ranging from small backyard operations to large-scale producers. Regardless of their size, all sugar makers face one unavoidable fact: Boiling down 43 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup takes a lot of fuel and time. A number of technologies exist, however, to reduce the energy needed to produce syrup—by reducing boiling time and using less fuel oil or cordwood.
Advances in Maple Syrup ProductionMaple syrup is made by much the same process today as it has been for generations. When the end of winter brings warm days and cold nights, sugar maples are tapped to collect sap, which is then boiled to remove water. Since the 1970s, technological advances have helped make this process less labor intensive and more energy efficient. These include reverse osmosis filters, vacuum pumps, sap preheaters, and tubing lines that carry sap straight from tree to sugar house.
Sap Preheating and Evaporator Efficiency
Sugar makers have other ways to reduce their fuel usage. Sap preheaters and steam-enhanced units recycle evaporator steam to preheat sap before it enters the pan. Steam-aways also speed up evaporation, by injecting air into the sap and making it foam. As for evaporators, efficiency opportunities can be found in both new units and retrofits. Making a wood-fueled firebox tight, for example, cuts cordwood usage by up to 30%.
- Recapture steam to lower energy demand on evaporators
- Reduce fuel usage by up to 40% with steam-enhanced units
- Cut cordwood usage by up to 30% by making your firebox airtight
Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) Controllers
Maple sap vacuum pump variable frequency drive (VFD) controllers vary the pump’s speed to deliver only what’s needed in the moment. They allow a vacuum pump to ramp down, for instance, when sap stops flowing because temperatures have dropped below freezing. As a result, VFDs reduce electricity use and lengthen the life of both pump and motor. They also maintain optimal vacuum pressure, making it obvious when there’s a break in a line.
- Minimize electricity used by maple sap vacuum pumps
- Pump and motor experience less wear and tear, longer life span
- Be alerted when there’s a break in a tubing line