Ethanol production from grains, farmers’ income will increase

New Delhi: There has been an excess production of sugar in the country (excluding reduced production due to drought in the 2016-17 sugar season) after the arrival of better sugarcane varieties from the 2010-11 sugar season and is expected to be in the coming years. This trend will continue in India also. The normal sugar season (October to September) produces around 320 lakh metric tons of sugar, while our domestic consumption is around 260 lakh metric tons. This additional production of 60 lakh metric tonnes in the normal sugar season has put the sugar mills under pressure to fix their prices. This additional reserves of 60 lakh metric tons go unsold and thus the amount of Rs 19 thousand crores of sugar mills gets trapped and their capital affects the liquidity situation. As a result, they are unable to pay the cane farmers the outstanding amount of their produce. To deal with this excess sugar stock, sugar mills export sugar and they get financial support from the government, but according to the WTO arrangement, India, being a developing country, will only be able to export sugar by 2023. Can provide financial assistance.

Therefore, the use of this extra sugarcane and sugar for ethanol production is the right way to deal with excess sugar reserves. This use of additional sugar will stabilize the domestic mill price of sugar paid by the mills and relieve the sugar mills from their storage problem. This will improve their capital flow and facilitate farmers to pay their outstanding value. Along with this, it will also help the sugar mills to run their operations in the coming years.

The government has set a target of blending 10 percent in petrol by 2022, 15 percent by 2026, and 20 percent by 2030. The government has allowed the production of B-heavy sugarcane molasses, sugarcane juice, molasses, and sugar from ethanol to support the sugar sector and in the interest of sugarcane farmers. In addition, it has also fixed beneficial mix-prices for ethanol extracted from C-heavy jaggery molasses and B-heavy jaggery molasses and sugarcane juice/sugar/ molasses during the ethanol session. Ethanol Supply For the year 2020-21, the government has now also increased the price of ethanol extracted from various cereals.

In order to increase fuel level ethanol production, the government is also encouraging the furnaces to produce ethanol from maize and rice available with the Food Corporation of India. The government has also fixed the beneficial price of ethanol extracted from maize and rice.

The government is planning to achieve the target of 20 percent blending of ethanol in petrol before 2025. While the country currently does not have sufficient capacity to extract ethanol from surplus sugar reserves and supply it to oil marketing companies, the Indian government has given oil marketing companies a fixed target of blending ethanol with petrol.

In addition, the goal of blending petrol and ethanol cannot be achieved by producing ethanol from sugarcane and sugar alone, and the first generation (1g) of ethanol will also need to be produced from other food items such as grains, beets, etc., Which does not have sufficient capacity in the country at present. Therefore, to produce the first generation ethanol in the country, there is a great need to increase the ability to extract ethanol from grains (rice, wheat, barley, maize, and jowar), sugarcane and beet, etc.

Therefore, the government has taken the following decisions for this: –
To increase ethanol production capacity to the following categories, the government will bring a revised scheme of interest on loan interest: –
Establishment of grain-based furnaces for ethanol production/expansion of existing grain-based furnaces, but the benefits of this scheme will be extended only to those kilns that use the dry milling process of grains.
Establishment of new molasses-based new furnaces for ethanol production/expansion of existing furnaces (whether they are affiliated with or separate from sugar mills) and whether approved by the Central Pollution Control Board to achieve zero liquid discharge (ZLD) Another way is to be established.

Setting up new furnaces for a dual production of both grain and molasses for ethanol production and expansion of already operated furnaces.
Converting existing molasses-based furnaces (whether associated with sugar mills or separate) into dual-use (production of 1 g ethanol from molasses and grains / any other food grains) and also grain-based furnaces into dual-use furnaces.

This proposed step will increase the production of first generation ethanol from a wide variety of grains, achieve the goal of blending ethanol in petrol and promote ethanol as a fuel that can be produced indigenously, non- Will be polluting and renewable and will improve the environment and eco-system. As a result, the country’s oil import expenditure will be saved. This will also ensure timely payment of their dues to the farmers.

Achievements achieved by the government in the last 6 years in increasing ethanol extractability and blending levels: –

The government has set a target of mixing ethanol with 10 percent by 2022 and 20 percent by 2030 in automotive fuels. As of 2014 jaggery molasses-based furnaces had less than 200 million liters of ethanol extracting capacity. In the last 6 years, this capacity of jaggery molasses based furnaces has doubled and now it has increased to 426 crore liters. Regarding the mixing targets, we find that the government is making concerted efforts to double the ethanol-extracting capacity in the country by 2024.

Ethanol Supply Ethanol supply to oil marketing companies was less than 400 million liters in the year 2013-14 and the mixing level was just 1.53 percent. However, due to the concerted efforts of the Central Government, the production of fuel level ethanol and its supply to oil marketing companies has increased four times in the last 6 years. In the ethanol supply year 2018-19, we have historically achieved a high figure of about 189 million liters and a 5 percent blending level. However, due to drought in Maharashtra and some regions of Karnataka, the production of sugar and good molasses was somewhat lower in the level of 2019-20 and due to this the furnaces supplied around 172.50 million liters of ethanol to the oil marketing companies. Thus a level of 5 percent mixing was achieved in 2019-20. It is expected that the current ethanol supply will be able to supply around 325 crore liters of ethanol to oil marketing companies in the year 2020-21 and achieve a blending level of 8.5 percent. It is possible that by 2022 we will achieve a level of 10 percent mixing.

Increasing the mixing level will reduce dependence on imported biofuels and will also reduce air pollution. Increasing the capacity of furnaces / setting up of new furnaces will create new employment opportunities in rural areas and thus achieve the goal of a self-reliant India.