Encouraged by the government’s promotion of ethanol with a purchase guarantee at a fixed price every year, many sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh are no longer seen as defaulters in cane payment. However, the state’s leading sugar producer, Triveni Engineering and Industries, has diversified into grain-based ethanol and has now emerged as the top supplier from Uttar Pradesh.

“We have produced over 3.5 crore litres of ethanol since July 2022 when we shifted to use grain as feed. Adding the ethanol produced from B-heavy molasses and sugarcane juice, the total quantity has reached 5 crore litres since April 2022,” said an official at Triveni’s Milak Narayanpur plant. The overall ethanol production of the company is much higher, he added.

After commissioning the 200-kilo litre per day (KLPD) dual feed ethanol plant in April 2022 at its existing sugar factory at Milak Narayanpur, the company is hopeful of starting production in other units as well in the next two-three months. Triveni Engineering has targetted to raise the capacity to 1,110 KLPD in current fiscal.

According to OMC sources, Triveni’s total grain-based ethanol was over 4.5 crore litres during last fiscal, of which about 3.7 crore litres have been produced at Milak Narayanpur plant and the remaining 0.8 crore litres at Muzzafarnagar plant.

Triveni Engineering after opening at ₹280.85 on Monday on BSE closed at ₹279.10, down 0.61 per cent from previous closing price of ₹280.80.

The official said to test the dual feed system, in which either grain or sugar-based can be used at one time to process the ethanol, the unit started with B-Heavy molasses in April which continued for a few days. Then it tried from syrup (direct sugarcane juice) for another few days before reverting back to molasses from April 26, 2022 and it continued until July 2022.

But, in July the grain feed was put to test and rice was used, he said adding, after which there was no need to revert to molasses as rice has been available. “Even during the crushing period of current sugar season, the plant stuck to rice as feedstock. We diverted surplus molasses to our sister units for ethanol,” he said.

He also informed that due to excise rules, the company takes 3-4 days to shift from one feed stock to another. The excise department has to ensure that separate stock of ethanol is maintained by each factory as the rate of ethanol varies according to the feedstock used. Even for grain-based plant, there is a different rate at which ethanol is purchased by OMCs when it is made from rice purchased from open market and from Food Corporation of India (FCI). There is a separate rate for ethanol produced from maize.

The correspondent was at the plant at the invitation of Triveni Engineering