Designing and Building Centrifuges to Clarify Maple and Walnut Syrup

Project Overview

Project Type: Research Only
Funds awarded in 2020: $49,824.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipients: Future Generations University; Marshall University
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Dr. Michael Rechlin
Future Generations University

Information Products


  • Miscellaneous: syrup


  • Crop Production: food processing

    Proposal abstract:

    Problem, Novel Approach, and Justification

    Centrifugation could provide an opportunity for maple and walnut syrup makers to reduce costs, increase environmental sustainability, reduce health risks, and increase profits. Producers typically use a filter press with diatomaceous earth (DE) as a filter aid (North American Syrup Producers Manual, 2006). This process creates waste in the form of spent diatomaceous earth, niter, and filter paper.  Inhaling DE’s minute silica particles during handling also poses a possible health risk to producers.  For these reasons, many maple producers would prefer not to use DE. Centrifugation would also make it easier for walnut syrup producers to clarify their product which has higher pectin concentrations that quickly plug up conventional filter presses.


    Our hypothesis is that with the proper knowledge inputs and engineering expertise a basket centrifuge can be designed and constructed to efficiently and safely clarify maple and walnut syrup.  Further, we hypothesize that this device will be a cost-effective improvement on presently used syrup clarification techniques.

    Outreach Plan:

    Research findings will be shared with farmers in the maple syrup production business through presentations at trade shows, and national-reaching trade publications like The Maple News and the Maple Syrup Digest. If successful, Project advisors will also facilitate discussions with maple equipment manufacturing companies to launch broader manufacturing and distribution of the new clarification technology.

    Project Objective: 

    The project objective is to design, test, refine, and scale a cost-effective centrifugal separator for maple and walnut syrup clarification.

    Project objectives from proposal:

     To design, test, refine, and scale a cost-effective centrifugal separator for maple and walnut syrup clarification. 

    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.