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Features 14-01-2020

3 min read

World's biggest beet sugar factory in Egypt to be powered by ABB’s distribution transformers

Close up sugar cubes and cane in wooden spoon on the table
  • Engineering creative solutions for reliable power to Canal Sugar's beet sugar factory
  • Fulfilling 80% of Egypt’s sugar deficit

By 2050, Egypt's population is forecast to grow massively from 100 million (2019) to *160 million people. Combined with changes in diet and lifestyle, the nation is seeing a surge in demand for sugar.

However, producing sugar locally strains the scarce water resources and importing the shortfall drains precious foreign reserves.

Today, Egypt’s annual sugar production currently stands at 2.48 million tons per annum – significantly less than its current consumption. To address the sugar gap, Egypt is expanding its domestic sugar production by boosting sugar beet cultivation. This is because sugar beet consumes less water than sugarcane. The country has increased the cultivation area of sugar beet to 584 ,000 feddans (606,099 acres) from 485,000 feddans in 2018.

Canal Sugar, owned by Dubai-based Al Khaleej Sugar Refinery is contributing to Egypt’s initiative by setting up the world's largest beet sugar factory in Egypt with an annual output capacity of 900,000 tons. This will help Egypt overcome up to 80% of its sugar deficit.

Powering the sugar rush with specially designed transformers

Production of sugar on this scale has massive power requirements. Routing such power needs efficient and reliable distribution transformers capable of meeting the complex requirements of such a factory.

To address Canal Sugar’s distinct requirements, the ABB team designed and delivered customized distribution transformers, capable of supporting the factory’s specific environmental conditions. Innovative design features include capacity to support high starting current of heavy-duty motors, which power the pumps. In addition, the transformers had to conform to non-standard voltage ratings as the factory is based on a similar plant in Dubai with ratings different from Egypt’s electricity distribution network.

“We share a long-term and strong relationship with ABB who have been our trusted partner for many projects, said Medhat Maher, CEO at El-Sewedy Electric T&D (the trading and distribution partner of Canal Sugar). “So, we have confidence in ABB’s technology and team’s capability to meet this project’s special technical requirements.”

ABB – world leaders in transformer design and delivery

ABB brings a proven track record of designing complex transformers and delivering them on time. This was a major reason for why El-Sewedy selected ABB combined with the experience ABB brought from delivering transformers to a similar project in Dubai for the same parent company.


Moreover, prompt delivery of these transformers was key to meet project's deadline of concluding electrical process by end of 2019. The team at ABB’s transformer facility in Egypt not only succeeded in meeting all the complex technical requirements of the transformer but also successfully adhered to the strict delivery schedule.

This is yet another instance of how creative problem-solving combined with effective technology solves challenging situations.

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