Historic project in Bay City was four years in the making

After nearly four years in the making – from conception, to engineering, to construction, to start-up – Michigan Sugar Company started up its new molasses desugarization facility in Bay City at around noon on Monday, May 20, 2024.
The 22,000-square-foot facility will allow Michigan Sugar to process 100% of the molasses produced as a byproduct of the sugar extraction process. “Desugaring” all of the molasses will allow Michigan Sugar to produce up to an additional 80 million pounds of pure, all-natural sugar annually without planting another acre of sugarbeets.
Before the facility, Michigan Sugar Company had the capacity to extract additional sugar from 60% of its molasses. Now, the company expects to process as much as 650 tons of molasses daily, up from the previous amount of 325 tons per day.
“We want to commend the team that has overseen this incredible project, as well as the countless contractors who had a part in building this state-of-the-art facility,” said Neil Juhnke, President and CEO of Michigan Sugar. “We note, again, the 160,000+ safe working hours this team achieved along the way. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to quality and safety – two things that should always to together.”
“This new facility is more than just a place of production – it is a symbol of innovation, efficiency, and progress,” said Nick Klein, Vice President of Operations for Michigan Sugar Company. “We have cutting-edge technology and a dedicated team that will be taking this factory to its 650 tons-per-day molasses processing rate over the next several weeks. Huge thanks to our shareholders, employees, and contractors whose commitment to this project has delivered a world-class operation and sustainability for the future.”
Michigan Sugar Company served as the general contractor for the project with Pumford Construction serving as the Civil/Structural Engineer. The project was announced publicly in August 2021 and ground was broken in June 2022.
The facility boasts 4,866 cubic yards of concrete, 766 tons of structural steel, and 10.4 miles of piping. Here are a few other construction highlights:
  • Feet of Cable Tray: 3,400
  • Miles of Cable Wire: 18
  • Instruments: 760
  • Valves: 2,475
  • Pumps: 93
  • Feet of Fiber for Network: 3,000
  • Tons in Molasses Extract Tank: 33,000
More than two dozen employees will run the facility, which sits just a stone’s throw from Michigan Sugar Company’s Bay City factory.
A ribbon cutting ceremony is being scheduled for later this year.