The Guatemalan Sugar Industry contributed up to 46% of the electrical energy consumed in the country during the 2020-21 Zafra

biomass

The cogeneration mills contributed with 30% of the energy consumed in the country during the 2020/21 harvest, reaching peaks in some days that reached up to 46%. This was announced by the Association of Independent Cogenerators of Guatemala -ACI-, in the presentation of the results of electricity generation.

Luis Ortiz, Executive Director of ACI, explained that during the 2020/21 Zafra, the cogeneration plants generated 1,844 (GWh) gigawatt-hours of renewable energy to deliver to the grid; the equivalent of 2 times the consumption of all the Municipal Electric Companies of Guatemala for 1 year or to all the energy consumed by the more than 1.1 million users during a year.

CogenerationThe maximum available power of the Cogeneration Plants to deliver to the grid during the Zafra was 562 (MW) megawatts, which is equivalent to 2 times the maximum capacity of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam, the plant with the highest electricity generation capacity in Guatemala. For this, more than 6.4 million tons of cane biomass, a product of the sugar production process, were used.

The electricity production of the Cogenerators is fundamental for the Guatemalan electricity system because it contributes to the diversification of the energy matrix and to the stability of the electricity tariff. The electricity produced by the Sugar Industry is renewable, cheap and complements during the dry season, which is when the capacity of the hydroelectric plants is reduced because there is less water availability.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has an installed generation capacity of 1020 MW, this makes them self-sufficient in the energy field since they generate their own energy and the surplus is sold to the National Interconnected System (SNI). 63% of the energy produced during the 2020/21 harvest was injected into the SNI to meet national demand and exports to Central America and Mexico; and the remaining 37% was used for the operation of the sugar mills.

With this generation of renewable energy, up to 4 million tons of CO2eq are prevented from reaching the environment each year, according to a study by the Guatemalan Sugar Carbon Footprint, carried out by the Private Institute for Climate Change Research of Guatemala -ICC-.

ACI was founded in 1997. It is made up of 8 cogeneration plants, which use one of the by-products of sugar production, the biomass of sugar cane, for the production of 100% renewable energy.

Cengicaña celebrates 29 years of supporting the technological advance of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry

In 1992, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry made the decision to create a specialized center for sugar cane research. This is how the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training of Sugar Cane -Cengicaña- was born, which today celebrates 29 years of working to support the technological advance of the Sugar Industry.

Research on sugar addresses many topics which are grouped into five programs: varieties, integrated pest management, agronomy, industrial research, and training and transfer.

Climate change and technology

Sugar cane varieties

Cengicaña has developed cane varieties that contain more sugar and are more resistant to diseases. In addition, they are adaptable to the varied environmental conditions of the Guatemalan sugar cane zone. Cengicaña scientists have a National Collection made up of 3,085 varieties of cane, which is used for crosses and studies of the plant.

In the case of the Integrated Pest Management program, Cengicaña scientists combat sugarcane pests with biology, by looking for natural enemies of fungi and bacteria, and even owls and hawks.

Cengicaña scientists rely on technological tools for research on plant fertilization and nutrition, irrigation, precision agriculture, among others. In the area of precision agriculture, satellite images from the European Space Agency and NASA are used to monitor humidity and determine the maturity of the cane for harvest. In addition, in irrigation, the development of the app Cengiriego to optimize the use of irrigation water in sugar cane stands out.

Renewable energy production

Renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is a world benchmark for the generation of renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse, a residue of sugar production. Cengicaña’s industrial research program has helped the sugar mills increase their power generation.

This has been a key factor in ensuring that the Sugar Industry generates up to 35% of the Guatemala’s electricity demand. In addition, with the renewable energy produced by the sugar mills, up to 4 million tons of CO2 is prevented from reaching the environment.

On this day we congratulate the scientists of Cengicaña who with their work help to make the Guatemalan Sugar Industry a sustainable sector.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has build internal roads to transport sugarcane

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has build internal roads to transport sugarcane

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has created an internal network of roads that benefits dozens of communities on the South of the country. Currently, more than 83% of the sugarcane is transported by internal roads.

Internal roads are those that go between the sugarcane fields and that communicate with the factories. These internal roads help to reduce the circulation of trucks loaded with sugarcane on national routes, while serving communities as an alternative road.

There are more than 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) of internal roads that the Guatemalan Sugar Industry has built and receive maintenance year after year, helping to significantly reduce the traffic of sugarcane on national highways.

Actions for responsible transport

Among the actions for a responsible transport is also the control and monitoring of the speed of the cane transport. The maximum speed in communities and school zones is 20 km/h (12 mph) and 40 km/h (25 mph) on internal roads.

There are also signalmen or flaggers in the sections where the sugarcane transport crosses the roads to avoid accidents.

Thanks to an agreement between the Guatemalan Sugar Industry and the Technical Training Institute -Intecap-, all pilots who transport sugarcane are trained and certified by said institution to guarantee that they have the skills to perform the task.

In addition, more and more women are joining the pilots’ workforce, which contributes to the inclusion of women in agricultural operations.

For the first time a Guatemalan variety of sugarcane leads the Guatemalan Sugar Industry

Sugarcane is researched by dedicated scientists at the Guatemalan Center for Research and Training of Sugar Cane -Cengicaña-; created with the aim of improving production and productivity of sugarcane and its byproducts.

Cengicaña published its Annual Report 2019-2020, in which the results of the investigations, projects and activities that were carried out in the last year are presented. One of the relevant results is that the varietal composition of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is now led by a Guatemalan variety.

The CG02-163 variety is now the one with the most planted area in Guatemala, after 18 years of being released by Cengicaña, relegating the CP72-2086 variety from Florida, United States to second place. It is expected that over the years the varieties developed by Cengicaña will relegate foreign varieties in the varietal composition of national cane.

The annual report can be downloaded in Spanish on the Cengicaña website: https://cengicana.org/publicaciones# .

The Variety Program contributes to increasing the Guatemalan Sugar Industry productivity through the development of new varieties of sugarcane. These varieties are of high sugar yield per unit area, resistant to diseases and with agro-industrial characteristics and adequate adaptability to the different environmental conditions of the Guatemalan sugarcane zone.

The harvest Season in Guatemala means development

The Harvest Season known as “Zafra”

The Harvest Season known as “Zafra” generates more than 56 thousand direct jobs and more than 280 thousand indirect jobs in Guatemala and is a booster for the economy.

There are many trade opportunities that arise during the Zafra season. Businesses increase their sales, which promotes the growth of the local economy and the generation of jobs. The sugar mills generate 56 thousand direct jobs and 280 thousand indirect jobs during the Harvest Season.

In addition, around 6,300 suppliers, among them 5,635 small and micro-businesses and the rest of medium and large companies, sell equipment and materials to the sugar mills and create jobs in the process.

The harvest Season in Guatemala means development

Among the companies that provide services to sugar mills are laboratories, workshops, food companies, tire shops, sales and rental of heavy machinery, cane producers, technology companies, oil companies, hardware stores, transportation services and gas stations.

Also, businesses on the South of the country, including pharmacies, shoe stores, warehouses, shops, hotels, restaurants, and markets are benefited by the economic movement generated by the Zafra.

That is why the start of the 2020/2021 Zafra will help the economic reactivation of the region and the country while the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry maintains its commitment to the production of sugar, alcohol and energy for Guatemala and the world. The sugar mills are prepared to start the 2020/2021 harvest and have adopted the Return to Work Protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19.

The harvest Season in Guatemala means development