The majority of the energy consumed by citrus processors is used to produce concentrated citrus products. During the 1979–80 Florida citrus season, over 193 million boxes of fruit were processed into concentrate which required approximately 12 trillion Btu of energy, or an equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil. This equates to one barrel of oil consumed for every 100 boxes of fruit processed. Boilers used around 4.3 trillion Btu of this energy to generate approximately 3 billion lbs of steam, most of which was used to evaporate 8.7 billion lbs of water. In addition, feed mills consumed approximately 6.5 trillion Btu to produce over 870,000 tons of feed.
A renewed interest in the role of energy in processing has been created by rapidly rising energy costs. According to energy experts, relief is not eminent, and energy costs are expected to continue to rise at two to five percent above the general inflation rate. Unless overall energy consumption is reduced, or economical alternative energy sources are found, the citrus industry may face serious reductions in its profit margins.
Paper published with permission.