TG3803 : The sugar factory at Cantley

taken 6 years ago, near to Cantley, Norfolk, Great Britain

The sugar factory at Cantley
The sugar factory at Cantley
As seen from the Wherryman's Way long distance footpath.
Cantley Sugar Factory

The factory was built in 1912. It was the first British beet sugar factory and for more than 100 years it has been a landmark on the banks of the River Yare from where it can be seen for many miles.

The sugar beet are produced by 750 UK growers, located at an average distance of 28 miles from the factory, which can process up to 10,000 tonnes per day with an average daily output of 9,000 tonnes/1,350 tonnes of sugar every day. The sugar is stored in six silos with a total storage capacity of 60,000 tonnes.

Rotary stone catchers remove around 7,000 tonnes of stone each year from incoming beet. The stone is washed and sold as aggregate. The soil is also separated, and then dried, screened and blended before being sold as high quality topsoil.

The cleaned beet is sliced into thin strips which are pumped to two separate diffusers where they are mixed with hot water to extract the sugar. During the purification process, milk of lime and CO2 are added to precipitate calcium carbonate (chalk). The chalk is filtered, washed and pressed, producing 400 tonnes of LimeX fertiliser per day. The remaining fibre is then mechanically pressed before being dried. This process produced the familiar plume of vapour rising from the drier chimney during the winter months. The dry fibre is compressed into pellets which are sold in bulk as animal feed.

The raw juice is progressively heated through heat recovery systems which minimise the energy demand of the plant. Milk of lime and CO2 are added to remove the impurities in the raw juice and the extracted "thin juice" passes to multiple effect evaporators where the water is boiled off, producing a syrup known as "thick juice". The steam that has been removed by evaporation is condensed and used for further heating and then stored to be used in other processes on the site. There is also a combined heat and power plant which produced steam and electricity; excess power can be exported into the local electrical grid.

Crystallisation of sugar takes place in pans which boil the thick juice under vacuum to lower the operating temperature and reduce energy demand. The thick juice is then "seeded" with tiny sugar crystals to provide the nucleus for the grains of sugar to form and grow. When the crystals are fully grown the mixture of crystal sugar and syrup is spun in centrifuges to separate the sugar from the syrup. The sugar crystals are washed, dried and cooled and conveyed to the storage silos. The syrup from the second crystallination stage is stored in two large tanks which have a combined capacity of 44,000 tonnes. This syrup is exported to the British Sugar factory at Wissington as feedstock for the chromatography process which produces betaine, sugar and raffinate for animal feed.

For more information go to: LinkExternal link

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TG3803, 134 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 4 January, 2015   (more nearby)
Sunday, 4 January, 2015
Geographical Context
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3860 0333 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:34.5243N 1:31.1962E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3861 0318
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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