The ethanol production in Maharashtra is likely to reach 140 crore litre next year, sugar industry representatives have said.

In future, the demand for fuel will be more than food. "Hence, the sugar industry in Maharashtra will also be called as the energy industry in times to come," National Federation of Co-operative Sugar Factories Limited Chairman Jayprakash Dandegavkar told PTI.

Ethanol is a by-product of sugar mills. Its production cycle is from December 1 to November 30.

In 2020-21, Maharashtra produced 100.36 crore litre of ethanol through 78 establishments, a representative of the state cooperative sugar factories federation said.

From December 2021, the state has produced 75.88 crore litre of ethanol and it is expected to go up to 116 crore litre by November 30 this year through 85 establishments, he said.

The production is likely go up to 130 to 140 crore litre next year. The establishments producing ethanol will also reach 90, he said.

Considering the limitations for natural fuel products, sugar companies will also produce electricity, hydrogen along with ethanol in future, Dandegavkar said.

Talking about the future pathway of ethanol production in the state, he said, "This production growth is mainly based on finance and government policies along with viability and new technology." The government has to keep a balance between labour wages, sugar rates and also ensure good returns for sugarcane producers, he added.

In this present economic scenario, the sugar industry cannot maintain its regular growth, he said. He demanded the government’s financial help in the ethanol production.

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