Bay City based Michigan Sugar is expanding its capacity to extract sugar from beet molasses in a $65 million dollar investment at its Monitor Township facility.
Currently, the grower-owned company produces about 325 tons of sugar beet molasses every day, from which sugar is extracted. This is about 60 percent of the molasses that’s processed. Over the next 18-24 months, Michigan Sugar will build a 22,000 square foot expansion housing state of the art desugarization technology, which will be able to process 100 percent of the molasses, or up to 650 tons daily.
Michigan Sugar expects to see an additional 80 million pounds of sugar each year, generating an extra $10-15 million in revenue for its shareholders.
Michigan Sugar President and CEO Mark Flegenheimer says the process will not result in additional land for crops, pesticides or fuel.
“We’re going to make 80 million more pounds of sugar without planting one more acre of sugar beets, without one more pass across the field with a tractor, without one additional spray (of pesticides) of the crops. We really checked all the boxes there, from a strategic standpoint, increasing productivity and being sustainable.”
The company is receiving a 12 year, $5.8 million dollar tax abatement, which Flegenheimer says will be passed along to its shareholders.
Michigan Sugar is also investing $2 million into expanding its brown sugar operation at the Bay City facility to increase its capacity to produce packages of brown sugar, which also includes the installation of a new packing machine, sugar transport system and the infrastructure to add another line to the system. Plus another $4 million will go to juice softening equipment at the Caro and Sebawaing plants.