Did you know that sugar cane bagasse is a source to generate renewable energy?

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry cogenerates renewable energy

To produce sugar, the juice is the raw material and the squeezed and crushed cane, called “Bagasse” is a residue, which thanks to the research has become a source of renewable energy.

The energy generation of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is strategic for the country since it takes place during the season of cane harvest and sugar production called Zafra and begins in November and ends in May, therefore it includes the dry season when hydroelectric plants decrease its contribution to the National Interconnected System. This helps to keep energy prices stable.

Just last year, according to data from the Association of Independent Cogenerators, the contribution of the Sugar Industry represented up to 46% of the energy used by the entire country during the Zafra season.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry cogenerates renewable energyThe sugar factories are self-sufficient, this means that they produce the energy they consume, the rest they sell to the national and regional electricity market.

Each year 7.5 million tons of bagasse are used to generate this renewable energy. The Guatemalan Sugar Industry has an installed capacity of 1,020 MW for generation.

In addition, with the renewable energy produced by the Sugar Industry, more than 4 million CO2 is prevented from reaching the atmosphere each year.

The start of the Zafra season contributes to the reactivation of the economy

Guatemala Zafra season contributes to the reactivation of the economy

The start of the Zafra contributes to the reactivation of the economy. The activities of the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and 270 thousand indirect ones.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry is an economic engine for the country since it generates an economic footprint of more than US$ 1,188 million each year, which reaches 90% of the country’s municipalities and each year generates more than 54 thousand direct jobs and distribute more than US$ 402 million in wages and salaries.

Guatemala Zafra contributes to the economyIn addition, the Sugar Industry hires more than 6,325 supplier companies (large, medium, and small) of products and services, who also become employers and multiply the opportunities for the population.

The 2021-2022 Zafra will take place in challenging conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry continues with strict biosecurity measures both in the field and in the factory.

“The Zafra is the harvest season for sugarcane and sugar production, which takes place from November to May. Our commitment every year is to improve our processes to be more and more efficient and develop our operation in a responsible way with our neighbors”, commented Luis Miguel Paiz, General Manager of the Guatemalan Sugar Producers Association -Asazgua-.

Technology, the basis of efficiency

In the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, systems and processes have been implemented to optimize the use of water for the irrigation of sugarcane; likewise, the sugar mills have implemented systems for the reuse of water and thus reduce the use of this resource. It is important to note that the sugar cane obtains from the rain about 72% of the water it needs to grow.

water footprint

Research and development is a fundamental pillar for the Guatemalan Sugar Industry, it has contributed to improve efficiency and competitiveness each harvest. The development of varieties of sugar cane is one of the great contributions of the research center, and through the natural crossing of plants, 33 varieties of Guatemalan sugar cane have been developed that are more productive, resistant to pests and climate change.

Zafra 2020/21 begins, a season of sweetness and development

Zafra 2020-2021 began with safety mesures

Zafra 2020/21 begins, a season of sweetness and development

The Zafra has started with a “Return to work Protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19”.

The Guatemalan Sugar Industry began the 2020/21 harvest under strict measures for the prevention of Covid-19 with the commitment to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and energy for millions of families.

The Zafra begins each year in November and ends in May, a time during which economic reactivation is propitiated in the South of Guatemala, due to the generation of jobs and the hiring of hundreds of suppliers of products and services.

Measures that sugar mills have adopted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

The harvest Season in Guatemala means development

The production of food and energy are essential; therefore, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry is committed to Guatemala and the world to guarantee the supply of sugar, alcohol, and electricity.

The sugar mills continue their operations under strict preventive measures to provide a safe work environment, following Occupational Health and Safety protocols and the dispositions of the authorities.

In order to maintain sanitary measures, there is the: “Return to work protocol with Occupational Health and Safety measures against COVID-19“, which has been designed and formulated by the Guatemalan Sugar Industry with COVID-19 preventive measures to apply in administrative, agricultural and industrial areas.

This protocol was created based on the Presidential Provisions, the Protocol of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS), the Guatemalan Social Security Institute (IGSS), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). Each sugar mill adopts and adapts it to its daily operation, within the terms of the Law and the Epidemiological Surveillance System of the Occupational Health and Safety Union Policy.

Production projection for the 2020/21 Zafra

For the 2020/21 Zafra, the production expectation will remain between 2.6 and 2.7 metric tons of sugar.

According to the projection, the production of the 2020/21 Zafra in quintals is equivalent approximately to 57 and 58 million quintals of sugar. Guatemala is the third country with the highest productivity in the world, obtaining an average of 10.6 tons of sugar for each hectare of cane cultivated.

For this harvest, the cultivated area is 250,662 hectares and according to the Forest Cover Map prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food -MAGA-, the cultivation of sugarcane represents 3.3% of the arable area of the country.

During the 2019/20 harvest, 56 thousand direct jobs and 280 thousand indirect jobs were generated, benefiting 90% of the municipalities of Guatemala with the economic footprint of Sugar.

Guatemalan Sugar in the world

Guatemala is the second largest sugar exporter in Latin America and the fourth worldwide; it also has the third place in productivity at the global level with respect to obtaining sugar per hectare of cultivated cane.

The main export markets in the 2019/20 Zafra were Canada, the United States, Chile, Mauritania, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Senegal. For this year, countries such as Romania and Equatorial Guinea are added, to which sugar from Guatemala will be exported for the first time.

These exports, added to those of alcohol and molasses, represent 7% of the country’s exports in 2019, according to figures from the Bank of Guatemala.

Renewable energy production

There are 11 sugar mills, and they operate in the departments of Escuintla, Santa Rosa, Suchitepequez and Retalhuleu. In addition to producing sugar, they generate renewable electricity. During the previous harvest, the mills served up to 35% of the national energy demand.

Renewable energy from sugarcane bagasse

During the 2019/20 harvest, the Guatemalan Sugar Industry generated 1,991 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy; 8.6% more than what was generated during the previous season 2018/19, when 1,834 GWh were generated. Contributing to the diversification of the energy matrix and the stability of the electricity rate in the country.

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