Comparing a centrifuge to a maple syrup filter press

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2015: $2,600.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2017
Region: Northeast
State: Rhode Island
Project Leader:
Charles Chase
Charlie's Sugarhouse

Annual Reports


  • Miscellaneous: syrup


  • Production Systems: centrifuge

    Proposal summary:

    Pure maple syrup is a farm product unique to eastern North America that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars and provides tens of thousands of jobs to rural residents. In the production of maple syrup, the naturally occurring minerals in the sap are concentrated in the syrup and the excess minerals and any other particulate matter must be filtered out to comply with state and federal regulations that require a clear syrup without any sediment. Filter presses are the most common method for filtering, yet this is a difficult job that often leads to failure and stress among the maple producer. Centrifuges are used in separating and filtering a wide variety of products, yet it has never been tried in the filtering of pure maple syrup. Our project will test out a small-scale centrifuge at two maple syrup producers locations in the spring 2015 to determine the efficacy of using this method for filtering maple syrup. If this works, it could save time and money and improve the quality of life for maple producers throughout the northeast.

    Project objectives from proposal:


    Recently, I saw a video about using a centrifuge to filter bio diesel vegetable oil. They heated the oil to make it less viscous, adjusted a hose so it went in at a constant flow, and out came clean oil. It was a fairly simple process that I though may also work for maple syrup. A centrifuge is a small bowl within a larger bowl. The smaller bowl spins extremely fast. When syrup is poured into the center, centrifugal force throws the syrup to the sides of the bowl. As more syrup is added, the syrup rides up and out of the smaller bowl into the larger bowl. Particulate matter and sediment sticks to the sides of the smaller bowl. Clean syrup collects in the larger bowl and drains into a container.


    To compare clarity of syrup and different flow rates of a centrifuge versus a standard filter press in procession maple syrup.  In the end, searching for the answer to which one takes less time and money to do the same or a better job and which is easier to manage.

    Materials and Methods:

    I will use an “Extreme Raw Power with a Cleaning Power Booster” centrifuge to filter my syrup and compare it to syrup using my filter press. I will compare clarity and different flow rates of the centrifuge versus a standard filter press. Another syrup producer named Bob Dubos, who has a larger operation in Connecticut, will repeat my experiment in order to have some replication in the trials.
     During the 2015 maple syrup season, as syrup is drawn off the evaporator it will be placed in a container. Half of the syrup will be filtered with a centrifuge and the other half will be filtered with a standard filter press. We will do this testing three times during the season- early, mid and at the end of the season to see if the quality and mineral levels in the syrup has any effect on filtering. The same syrup will be used to filter either through the centrifuge or filter press and then samples will be compared with each other using a Hanna meter. The Hanna meter provides a measurement of light transmittance for maple syrup and is used for classifying in to the four grades. If one syrup is cloudier than another, it will have a lower score on the Hanna meter. We will also keep track of how long it takes to filter the same amount of syrup with a filter press and centrifuge.


    Research will start in the winter of 2015-2016 to take full advantage of the sugaring season. Sampling will be done three times during the course of the season. Articles will be written in May and June 2015 and a final report will be done by July 1, 2015. Michael Farrell will serve as the technical advisor and assist with planning of the research project, drafting of the reports, and presentation of results at maple producer association meetings.

    Outreach plan:

    We will submit articles to The Maple News, the Maple Digest, Farming, and local newspapers. If the centrifuge is successful, we will also work with USDA to develop a short video for the Forest Farming Youtube channel to showcase how to use a centrifuge to filter maple syrup. Michael Farrell will also provide an oral presentation on the research at the annual meeting of the North American Maple Syrup Council and International Maple Syrup Institute in Pennsylvania in October 2015.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.