Agri Business

‘Feedstock available for 15% ethanol blending’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 06, 2018 Published on September 06, 2018

The use of molasses, surplus cane juice, broken and rotten foodgrains as feedstock may help India go for up to 15 per cent ethanol blending in the coming years, a sugar industry expert said here on Thursday.

The government, in July this year, revamped its biofuels policy by allowing a maximum ethanol blend of 20 per cent, even though specifications are yet to be worked out.

But the current distillation capacities can produce and supply a maximum of 250 crore litres, whereas oil marketing companies need 330 crore litres for 10 per cent blending. An additional capacity of 35 crore litres will be available in the next 12 months.

“But allowing to use B-molasses to produce ethanol may give 6.5 billion litres of ethanol,” Abinash Verma, Director-General of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), told an international sugar conference here.

However, new and expanded capacities will take at least another three years to come up, he said.

But crossing the 10 per cent blending levels may need new standards and approvals. Besides, many old vehicles require modification of engines and other parts to make it happen, Verma said.

The change in the policy, however, will pose a number of challenges to the sugar mills, he said. Most mills that have stressed balance sheets may have to clean up their accounts to avail of loans for setting up new ethanol plants.

Sugar mills, which are facing challenges on export front on account of rock bottom global prices, may be able to dispose of some of their existing stocks by converting them into ethanol, he said. About 2.5 million tonnes of sugar could produce enough ethanol for 5 per cent blending, Verma explained.

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Published on September 06, 2018
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