# A Novel Approach to Minimize Energy Requirements and Maximize Biomass Utilization of the Sugarcane Harvesting System in Sri Lanka

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Sugarcane Harvesting

#### 2.1.1. Manual Harvesting

#### 2.1.2. Mechanical Harvesting

^{2}area was isolated from the selected points, and all the visible trash and cane available in that location were collected carefully by hand. The trash and cane were separated and, based on the weight, the visible cane losses were calculated. The reduced sugar content in the harvested cane was estimated just after 24 h and 48 h using the Lane–Eynon method [22] to understand post-harvest losses of sugar compared to manual harvesting.

#### 2.2. Cane and Dry Leaves Harvesting (CDLH) Concept

#### 2.2.1. Theoretical Harvesting Capacity

_{d}is the working hours per 24 h (h/d), W

_{c}is the average weight of the one cane stalk (kg), t

_{s}is the time required to harvest one cane stalk (s). The theoretical mechanical harvesting capacity was calculated for single raw harvesters using Equation (2).

_{u}is the unit yield along the raw (kg/m), V

_{h}is the average speed of the harvester (m/s). When measuring the Y

_{u}and V

_{h}, traveled distance and time required for filling the cane infielder were measured. When recording the time, the time required for turning, stopping, adjustments were omitted since we needed to measure maximum possible harvesting capacity. The weight of the harvested cane and trailer was measured using weighbridge available in the Sevanagala sugar factory.

#### 2.2.2. Theoretical Energy Consumption

**Cutting energy:**the cutting energy can be calculated multiplying specific cutting energy by area of the cut. Therefore, the bottom and top cutting energy were calculated using Equation (3).

_{BC}is the average diameter of the cane stalk (mm). SE

_{c}is the specific cutting energy (J/mm

^{2}), W

_{CS}is the average weight of a cane stalk at harvest (kg).

**Chopping energy**: chopping is the method of cutting the sugarcane into small sections called billets with chopping harvesters. In chopping, one sugarcane stalk is cut from several positions. Therefore, total cutting energy is the sum of all the energy required to cut the sugarcane from each position. The theoretical energy required to produce the billets were calculated using Equation (4). In CDLH, not only sugarcane but dry leaves were also cut into small parts, and the length was similar to the billets. The energy required for chopping dry leaves (DLCE—dry leaf cutting energy) was calculated using Equation (5). DLCE was estimated based on the specific cutting energy and cross-section area of each cut. For the calculation purpose, specific cutting energy of the dry leaves was estimated using the method described in Ariyawansha et al. and Chandio et al. [24,25]. The cross-section area of the cut was estimated using a Vernier caliper, assuming the leaf cross-section area was rectangular in each cut. The number of cuts of cane or dry leaves was estimated using Equation (6).

_{n}is the diameter of each(nth) cutting/chopping point, SE

_{n}is the specific cutting energy nth section (J/mm

^{2}), DLCE is the dry leaf cutting energy (J/tcc), A is the cross-section area of the cut surface of the dry leaves (mm

^{2}), SE

_{DL}is the specific cutting energy of the sugarcane trash (J/mm

^{2}), l

_{c}is the average length of the cane/dry leaves (cm), l

_{b}is the average length of the cane billet (cm).

**Cleaning energy**: the energy required to produce the airflow from the extractor fan of the sugarcane harvester for cleaning the chopped cane was calculated using Equation (7) [26].

_{f}is the energy required for cleaning the cane (kJ/tcc), P

_{t}is the total pressure (kPa), Q

_{a}is the airflow rate (m

^{3}/s), t

_{h}is the time required to harvest one tonne of cleaned cane (s).

**Loading and transport energy**: material loading energy for one tonne of clean cane was calculated using Equation (8). The energy required to travel in a distance is the product of applied force and distance. In a vehicle, the applied force is equal to the sum of rolling resistance, aerodynamic drag, and gradient force when it is at a constant speed [27]. The majority of the roads where sugarcane cultivation areas in Sri Lanka are earthen roads. Therefore, the tractor’s speed for transporting sugarcane is lower. Therefore, the aerodynamic drag force is very small compared to the rolling resistance, assuming the vehicle (tractor with cane loaded wagon) is running in flat soil road at a constant speed and the applied force is equal to the rolling resistance. The rolling resistance is the product of the coefficient of rolling resistance, the total weight of the vehicle, and the acceleration of gravity [28]. Therefore, the required energy for transportation of one tonne of clean cane was calculated using Equation (9). We assumed all other factors affecting the rolling resistance of the coefficient similar to CCH and CDLH. Et is the transport energy requirement (kJ/tcc/km) was calculated using Equation (8).

_{DL}is the percentage of dry leaves (%), g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s

^{2}), h is the height of the lift (m), C

_{r}is the coefficient of rolling resistance (0.08 for soil [28]), m

_{t}is the total weight (t), l is the length (1000 m), m

_{cc}is the weight of clean cane (t) and was calculated from Equation (10).

_{t}is the sum of the vehicle’s empty weight and cane weight, including trash. Therefore, m

_{t}was calculated using Equation (11).

_{v}is the weight of the vehicle (t), v is the volume of the wagon (m

^{3}), ${\rho}_{b}$ is the bulk density of the cane (t/m

^{3}). To estimate the transportation energy for a certain distance, the value taken from Equation (9) was multiplied by the distance of transportation. The transport energy may be different from the different loading conditions of the cane. When transporting the cane billets, it would be compacted very well without extra effort, so bulk density would be higher. When we load the whole cane, it would be more difficult to compact without extra effort, then the bulk density would be less. Therefore, we calculated transport energy for normal loading and compacted loading (Improved bulk density (IBD)) conditions. The bulk density was measured after filling the cane into a trailer with known volume and weight. The volume of the trailer was calculated after obtaining the dimensions of the trailer. The weight of the cane was taken from the weighing bridge after measuring the trailer with the cane and without the cane. Then we calculated the variation of the total energy (TE) consumption as the energy needed for cutting, chopping, cleaning, loading, and transportation over the distance up to 25 km. Also, we calculated field energy (FE) consumption. FE is the energy used for machinery during harvesting and delivering the cane to the factory, and therefore FE is supplied by diesel. In CDLH, we propose to move the cleaning and chopping system to the factory. Therefore, in CDLH, the energy needed for cleaning and chopping would be supplied from the factory as biomass energy.

#### 2.2.3. Potential Energy Recovery

#### 2.2.4. Sugar Recovery Potential

## 3. Results and Discussion

#### 3.1. Sugarcane Harvesting in Sri Lanka

#### 3.1.1. Manual Harvesting

#### 3.1.2. Mechanical Harvesting

#### 3.2. Comparison of Cleaned Cane Harvesting (CCH) and Cane and Dry Leaves’ Harvesting (CDLH)

#### 3.2.1. Harvesting Capacity

#### 3.2.2. Energy Consumption

^{2}[21]. Depending on the cutting angle and cutting speed, the specific energy requirement for cutting would vary between 40–120 mJ/mm

^{2}[31]. As reported by Mathanker et al., [8] the power requirement for a base cutter was 610 kJ per tonne of cane, and this value had been calculated based on the pressure and flow rate of the hydraulic component of the base cutter. Therefore, this value can be considered as total actual energy requirement which is not only for cutting the cane but overcoming the other barriers for cutting such as numerous cane stalks with different cutting angles, ground barriers such as soil, power losses due to friction and to keep higher safety factor. For calculation purpose, we assumed the specific energy of the top cutting and chopping (only billet making) is similar to the base cutting energy since there were no data.

#### 3.2.3. Energy Potential

#### 3.2.4. Potential Sugar Recovery

#### 3.3. Overall Comparison of CCH and CDLH

## 4. Conclusions

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

## Nomenclature

ρ_{b} | Bulk density of the cane (t/m^{3}) |

A | Cross-section area of the cut surface of the dry leaves (mm^{2}) |

CCE | Energy need for chopping cane (kJ/tcc) |

C_{r} | Coefficient of rolling resistance |

CtE | Energy needs to cut the sugarcane from base or top (J/tcc) |

D_{BC} | Average diameter of the cane stalk (mm) |

D_{n} | Diameter of each cutting/chopping point (mm) |

DLCH | Dry leaves’ cutting energy (kJ/tcc) |

EPCR | Energy potential to consumption ratio (No units) |

Ef | Energy need for cleaning the cane (kJ/tcc) |

El | Loading energy for one tonne of clean energy (kJ/tcc) |

Et | Transport energy requirement (kJ/tcc/km) |

G | Acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s^{2}) |

h | Height of the lift (m) |

i | Number of cuts |

m | Cane and dry leaves weight (t) |

M | Moisture content of the biomass (in decimal) |

McHC | Mechanical harvesting capacity (tcc/day) |

m_{cc} | Weight of clean cane (t) |

MnHC | Manual harvesting capacity (tcc/day/person) |

m_{t} | Total weight (t) |

m_{v} | Weight of the vehicle (t) |

LHV | Lower heat of wet biomass at constant pressure (MJ/kg) |

L | Length (m) |

l_{c} | Average length of the cane/dry leaves (cm) |

l_{b} | Average length of the cane billet (cm) |

P_{DL} | Percentage of dry leaves (%) |

P_{t} | Total pressure (kPa) |

Q_{a} | Air flow rate (m^{3}/s) |

SE_{c} | Specific cutting energy (J/mm^{2}) |

SE_{DL} | Specific cutting energy of the sugarcane trash (J/mm^{2}) |

TEC | Total theoretical energy consumption for harvesting and supply (MJ/tcc) |

t_{d} | Working hours per 24 h (h/d) |

TEP | Total theoretical energy potential from bagasse and trash (MJ/tcc) |

t_{h} | Time required to harvest one tonne of the cane (s) |

t_{s} | Time required to harvest one cane stalk(s) |

v | Volume of the wagon (m^{3}) |

V_{h} | Average speed of the harvester (m/s) |

W_{c} | Average weight of the one cane stalk (kg) |

W_{CS} | Average weight of a cane stalks at harvest (kg) |

Y_{u} | Unit yield along the raw (kg/m) |

Abbreviations | |

CCH | Clean cane harvesting |

CDLH | Cane and dry leaves harvesting |

CCS | Commercial cane sugar |

ED_{IBD} | Effective transport distance with an improved bulk density |

ED_{nl} | Effective transport distance with normal loading |

EROI | Energy return on investment |

FE | Field energy |

IBD | Improved bulk density |

NPR | Net profit ratio |

SSDP | Sri Lanka sugar sector development policy |

tcc | Tonnes of cleaned (without trash and tops) cane |

TCD | Tonnes of cane per day |

TE | Total energy |

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**Figure 1.**The system boundary of the study based on Sri Lankan sugarcane industry. (a) Sugarcane harvesting; (b) energy use; (c) commercial cane sugar (CCS) losses and (d) biomass potential;

^{1}Keerthipala [6];

^{2}estimated using data available in Sugarcane Research institute based on total cane stalk harvested;

^{3}estimated based on data available in Weerasinghe, et al., [20] and Solomon [21];

^{4}estimated using sugar industry statistic in Sri Lanka;

^{5}theoretical energy need for cutting, cleaning, chopping and loading only;

^{6}estimated using data available in Brizmohun, et al., [1].

**Figure 2.**Different systems of the combine-chopper harvester used for cleaned cane harvesting (CCH).

**Figure 4.**Time utilization for different activities when harvest one cane stalk in manual harvesting.

**Figure 5.**Manual harvesting rate (in CCH—base, top cutting and dry leaves removing were done, in CDLH, only base and top cutting were done).

**Figure 6.**Comparison of total energy (TE) consumption in CCH and CDLH for 1 km transportation distance. FE depends on the transport distance.

**Figure 7.**Energy comparison with the transport distance, (

**a**) variation of field energy (FE) consumption with transport distance, (

**b**) variation of energy potential to consumption ratio (EPCR) and benefit with transport distance; where, ED

_{nl}—effective transport distance with normal loading (from the energy point of view), ED

_{IBD}—effective transport distance with improved bulk density (IBD) (from the energy point of view).

**Figure 9.**Energy use, bioenergy and sugar potential of the (

**a**) CCH and (

**b**) CDLH for one tonne of cleaned cane (1 tcc) for 1 km transport distance.

^{e1}Boiler thermal efficiency is 85%,

^{e2}generator efficiency is 96%.

**Figure 10.**Variation of the cost of sugar production and net profit ratio with the transport distance.

Harvester Model | Quantity (Nos.) | Actual Capacity t/d | Total Harvesting (t/d) |
---|---|---|---|

CASE Austoft 4000 + | 5 | 70 | 350 |

CASE Austoft 4000 Case++ | 6 | 80 | 480 |

Shaktiman 3737 | 4 | 90 | 360 |

Total machine harvesting capacity | - | - | 1170 |

Total processing capacity | - | - | 6550 |

Mechanization level of sugarcane harvesting | - | - | 18% |

Data | Value (SD) | Units | Data Source |
---|---|---|---|

Working hours per day(t_{d}) | 8 | h | Filed examination |

Time required for harvest one cane stalk (t_{s}) in CCH | 16.75 (±4.95) | s | Measured |

Time required for harvest one cane stalk (t_{s}) in CDLH | 3.56 (±1.71) | s | Measured |

Weight of the one cane stalk | 1071.10 (±411) | g | Measured * |

Unit yield (Y_{u}) along with the raw | 7.7 | kg/m | Calculated ** |

Speed of the harvester | 0.76 | m/s | Measured |

Specific energy required to cut the sugarcane at base | 39.30 | mJ/mm^{2} | [24] |

Specific energy required for cut dry leaves | 30 | mJ/mm^{2} | Estimated *** |

Diameter of the cane stalk base | 23.97 (±3.84) | mm | Measured * |

Diameter of the cane stalk top | 22.15 (±3.84) | mm | Measured * |

Length of the cane stalk | 227.25 (±61.19) | mm | Measured * |

Billet length | 25 | mm | Measured * |

Number of the dry leaves per stalk | 6 (±2) | Nos. | Measured * |

Average thickness a leaf | 0.84 (±0.21) | mm | Measured * |

Average width of a leaf | 28.5 (±12.25) | mm | Measured * |

Average length of a dry leaf | 124 (±38) | mm | Measured * |

Average total pressure of the extractor fan | 9.54 | kPa | Measured |

Average wind speed of the fan | 6.62 | m/s | Measured |

Average weight of the cane after loading to the trailer | 4.95 (±0.52) | t | Measured |

Average height of the trailer | 3.3 | m | Measured |

Percentage of dry leaves | 7 | %(W/W) | Calculated ^{wb} |

Moisture content of dry leaves | 16 | % | Measured |

Bulk density of the cleaned cane after normal handloading | 340 | kg/m^{3} | Measured * |

Bulk density of the cane with 7% dry leaves after normal handloading | 232 | kg/m^{3} | Measured * |

Bulk density of the cane with 7% dry leaves after careful handloading | 335 | kg/m^{3} | Measured * |

^{wb}Wet basis.

**Table 3.**Theoretical energy consumption for different activities in CCH and CDLH when transport harvested cane for 1 km distance.

Activity | CCH | CDLH | CDLH (IBD) | |
---|---|---|---|---|

Base cut (kJ/tcc) | - | 17 | 17 | 17 |

Top cut (kJ/tcc) | - | 14 | 14 | 14 |

Chopping (kJ/tcc) | Cane | 123 | 123 ^{a} | 123 ^{a} |

Leaves | 3 | 3 ^{a} | 3 ^{a} | |

Cleaning (kJ/tcc) | 3580 | 3580 ^{a} | 3580 ^{a} | |

Loading (kJ/tcc) | 32 | 35 | 35 | |

Transport (kJ/tcc/km) | 1379 | 1781 | 1493 | |

Energy consumption at the factory (kJ/tcc) | 0 | 3706 * | 3706 * | |

Energy consumption at the field (kJ/tcc) | 5148 ** | 1847 ** | 1559 ** | |

Total (kJ/tcc) *** | 5148 | 5553 | 5265 |

^{a}In CDLH chopping and cleaning was done in the factory, therefore, this energy is supplied by using biomass energy; * Sum of “a”, ** sum of the values without “a”, tcc- tonnes of cleaned cane supply to the factory; *** When transported 1 km distance, IBD-Improved bulk density.

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Ariyawansha, T.; Abeyrathna, D.; Kulasekara, B.; Pottawela, D.; Kodithuwakku, D.; Ariyawansha, S.; Sewwandi, N.; Bandara, W.; Ahamed, T.; Noguchi, R.
A Novel Approach to Minimize Energy Requirements and Maximize Biomass Utilization of the Sugarcane Harvesting System in Sri Lanka. *Energies* **2020**, *13*, 1497.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061497

**AMA Style**

Ariyawansha T, Abeyrathna D, Kulasekara B, Pottawela D, Kodithuwakku D, Ariyawansha S, Sewwandi N, Bandara W, Ahamed T, Noguchi R.
A Novel Approach to Minimize Energy Requirements and Maximize Biomass Utilization of the Sugarcane Harvesting System in Sri Lanka. *Energies*. 2020; 13(6):1497.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061497

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Ariyawansha, Thilanka, Dimuthu Abeyrathna, Buddhika Kulasekara, Devananda Pottawela, Dinesh Kodithuwakku, Sandya Ariyawansha, Natasha Sewwandi, WBMAC Bandara, Tofael Ahamed, and Ryozo Noguchi.
2020. "A Novel Approach to Minimize Energy Requirements and Maximize Biomass Utilization of the Sugarcane Harvesting System in Sri Lanka" *Energies* 13, no. 6: 1497.
https://doi.org/10.3390/en13061497