During September and October of 2020 took place the harvesting session of the sugar beets at the headquarters of the project coordinator, Royal Cosun, and the subsequent collection of the sugar beets leaves for the Greenprotein Demo Plant.
1-year anniversary since the opening of the DEMO Plant
This year harvesting session was a cornerstone moment for the project, as it was also the one-year anniversary since the opening of the Demo Plant back in October 2019. Below there are images of the sugar beet leaves getting to the Plant to start the treatment process:
But, how were the leaves collected?
Royal Cosun counted with machinery to carry out the harvest of the sugar beets, but the Greenprotein project brought for the first time the issue of how to collect the remanent leaves.
Usually, when there is no valorisation of the leaves, the sugar beet harvest happens more or less the following way:
- The beets are first defoliated by a special tractor that removes their tops with flails and knives called scalpers.
- A beet digger using wheels that are set on angles pops the sugar beets out of the ground and picks them up.
- They get an initial cleaning as the digger runs them over a set of rollers and into a holding tank.
- The sugar beet leaves are left behind usually on the fields.
To create an efficient process for the collection of the leaves that are left on the fields, Royal Cosun requested the design and building of a unique harvesting machine for the sugar beet leaves. The new machine has been built by Hack Harvest, a company with extensive experience in the field.
It is possible to see the machine in action in the next video:
A new innovation drawn from Greeprotein
This development is one of the best results a project like Greenprotein could work for: an innovation independent to the planning of the project that takes one step further the technologies and business models carried out during the project.
This new machine will live past the project development and potentially will help other companies in the sugar beet industry kick start a circular business model that valorises remnants of their production.