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Gross energy yields and the support energy requirements for the production of sugar from beet and cane; a study of four production areas

  • R. B. Austin (a1), G. Kingston (a2), P. C. Longden (a3) and P. A. Donovan (a4)

Summary

In t h e four production areas studied the gross energy contents of the biomass of the U.K. and Californian sugar beet crops were about 222 GJ/ha/year, while those for the Queensland and Transvaal sugar cane crops were about 682 GJ/ha/year. Recoverable sucrose constituted about 45% of the gross energy yield in the sugar beet crops but only about 29% in t he sugar cane crops, largely due to the bagasse (fibre) present in the cane. Since the sugar cane bagasse was used as fuel it provided nearly all the energy for the production of raw sugar from the sugar cane crops, but sugar beet by-products supplied no energy for t he production of sugar from sugar beet. This difference between the two species was the main reason why the support energy required for sugar production from beet, 28·8 GJ/t sugar, was greater than for production from sugar cane, 10·5 GJ/t sugar. The ratios, energy in refined sucrose:support energy required for its production, were 0·60 for sugar beet and 1·60 for sugar cane.

The efficiencies of conversion of the photosynthetically active solar radiation incident on the crops into energy in biomass (excluding fibrous roots) were 1·2% for sugar beet and 2·0% for sugar cane. This difference in efficiency did not appear to be due to a consistent species difference in the proportion of t he radiation intercepted by the crops, and may have been a consequence of the more efficient photosynthetic carbon fixation mechanism in sugar cane than in sugar beet. The efficiencies of conversion of incident photosynthetically active radiation into energy as sucrose recovered from the plants showed no consistent difference between species and averaged 0·56%.

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References

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Gross energy yields and the support energy requirements for the production of sugar from beet and cane; a study of four production areas

  • R. B. Austin (a1), G. Kingston (a2), P. C. Longden (a3) and P. A. Donovan (a4)

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