University of Vermont

cals
College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences

Department of Plant and Soil Science

Lapierre Equipment, UVM Announce Partnership to Research More Efficient Maple Processing

Focus is on New High-Tech Processor at Proctor Maple Research Center

As part of the collaboration, Lapierre Equipment will supply UVM with the state-of-the-art HYPERBRIX RO and evaporator (pictured) for use in research and in UVM’s 5,000 tap maple sugaring operation in Underhill Center.

Maple company Lapierre Equipment and the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center have announced a research collaboration to investigate new methods of maple sap processing that could dramatically increase productivity.

The research partnership will focus on developing and testing a newly developed piece of equipment developed by Lapierre called a HYPERBRIX RO and evaporator.

The device concentrates sap so it is 35 percent sugar before it is boiled in the evaporator.

To make a gallon of syrup traditionally, 40 gallons of sap are required. With the new Lapierre system, only 2.2 gallons of concentrate are needed, producing large energy and time savings compared to boiling raw sap.

The new technology represents a leap forward. Most RO, for reverse osmosis, systems currently in use in the maple industry can concentrate sap from about 2 percent to 8 to 15 percent sugar.

“It was a natural progression for RO’s to go to higher sugar concentration,” said Carl Lapierre, director of R&D at the company.  “We chose to stop at 35 percent, which is close to 95 percent of the water removed from the sap. The reason for this is simple – some amount of boiling is necessary to develop good flavor. We have completely redesigned the evaporator to optimize performance while maintaining excellent caramelization.”

New system in place at Proctor Research Center

As part of the collaboration, Lapierre Equipment has supplied the Proctor Maple Research Center with the state-of-the-art HYPERBRIX RO and evaporator and additional syrup processing accessories for use in research and in UVM’s 5,000 tap maple sugaring operation in Underhill Center.

“This collaboration will put UVM solidly in the forefront of the technology of maple sap processing,” said Timothy Perkins, research professor and irector of the Proctor Maple Research Center.  “We look forward to several years of research on this new system to help push the curve ahead a little more.” 

In a 2016 study, Proctor Maple Research Center researchers found that syrup produced with high RO concentration produced syrup that tasted as good as that produced at a lower level of RO concentration, indicating that this new technology could produce further savings in time and energy for maple producers. 

Lapierre Equipment is an international leader in the production of maple-related technology.  The company has introduced several innovations in the maple industry over the past 40 years.  In 2016, they released the HYPERBRIX Reverse Osmosis (RO) and evaporator system in Canada and are now making the system available in the U.S.  The university is working with Lapierre’s U.S. office, headquartered in Swanton, Vermont.

The University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center, located in Underhill Center, Vt. and established in 1946, is renowned for its work on the science and application of technology in the maple industry.  Previous work has focused on the effects of RO processing on syrup chemistry and flavor.