Drinking Water from Sugar Cane: New Age thinking in Australia

Drinking Water from Sugar Cane

Innovation in thought has been inspiring Australia. A sudden rush to conserve, preserve and harness is giving birth to ground breaking ideas in the country. Not everyone is a hardcore crusader for environmental causes. Some work and think so the crusaders find solutions for the changing ecosystem. The urgency is extracting unique practices. The world will soon get water extracted from sugarcane, from a plant in Australia.

Sunshine Sugar is a collaboration between NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative and the Manildra Group, that has multiple sugar mills in the state. What this joint venture is able to do is use technology to yield drinking water from sugar cane. The collaboration’s third party is AquaBotanical, an Australian company based at Mildura in Victoria, that is making the product, that will harvest water along with the extraction of the juice.

The exercise so far, involved getting rid of the water content of the juice, which would then become waste and flow, or evaporate, depending on the stage of the process. It’s a simple method of taking the water out of the cane, then removing the sugars and sweeteners and leaving behind pure water for human consumption. Here is where the technology comes in handy. Mature sugar cane stalks contain more than 60 per cent moisture which until now has remained a wasted product in the Australian sugar industry. Sunshine Sugar’s chief executive officer Chris Connors says, “The water gets squeezed out anyway as part of the sugar production process and then goes into an evaporator condenser system. So, it’s already there. We’ll just polish it up a little bit”.

The initiative will be a fruitful answer to many problems pilling up in the region, water and mining related. The technology is mobile and easy to use. The water will be bottled for consumption could be exported to China.

The method takes a leaf from a patented technology developed by Dr Bruce Kambouris, a trained chemical engineer, in Mildura in 2012 who collected water from tomato and carrot rejects sent for juicing. The water is made safe for drinking and other uses. The project is estimated to earn around $2 million profit over the next couple of years.