A cost analysis of processing maple sap to syrup for three fuel types, oil-, wood-, and LP gas-fired evaporators, indicates that: (1) fuel, capital, and labor are the major cost components of processing sap to syrup; (2) woodfired evaporators show a slight cost advantage over oil- and LP gas-fired evaporators; however, as the cost of wood approaches $50 per cord, wood as a fuel would no longer have this cost advantage; (3) economies of scale exist in processing maple sap to syrup; (4) in 1977 the total cost of production, including both sap production costs and processing costs, for a medium-size (750) gallons of syrup) operation was $8.36 per gallon of syrup for oil-fired evaporators, $7.97 per gallon of syrup for wood-fired evaporators, and $8.37 per gallon for LP gas-fired evaporators.
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A study of the engineering and economic effects of heat exchangers in conventional maple syrup evaporators indicated that: (1) Efficiency was increased by 15 to 17 percent with heat exchangers; (2) Syrup produced in evaporators with heat exchangers was similar to syrup produced in conventiona lsystems in flavor and in chemical and physical composition; and (3) Heat exchangers reduce per unit production costs, and can yield greater production and higher profits.
A test of vapor compression distillers for processing maple syrup revealed that: (1) vapor compression equipment tested evaporated 1 pound of water with .047 pounds of steam equivalent (electrical energy); open-pan evaporators of similar capacity required 1.5 pounds of steam equivalent (oil energy) to produce 1 pound of water: (2) vapor compression evaporation produced a syrup equal in quality to that from a conventional open-pan evaporation plant; and (3) a central plant producing 8,000 gallons of syrup per year should yield a return of 16 percent on investment. Increasing annual product output should increase the return on investment.