Sugar Mills Cleared for Ethanol Production

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INVC NEWS
New Delhi : The Indian government has taken a groundbreaking step by granting approval for sugar mills to transform sugarcane and B-heavy molasses into ethanol in the supply year 2023-24. However, there’s a catch – a maximum limit of 17 lakh tons of sugar has been set for this purpose. The decision to lift the ban on using sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses for ethanol production came a week after the imposition of restrictions on these resources.

The Industry’s Demand

The industrial sector had been fervently requesting a reconsideration of the ban. Sanjeev Chopra, the Secretary of Food, revealed that within the supply year of November-October 2023-24, Chinese mills have the option to utilize both sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses for ethanol production, falling under the total limit of 17 lakh tons of sugar.

Ministerial Committee Decision

Chopra disclosed that a committee of ministers made this decision during a recent meeting. This move follows industry appeals to reconsider the ban imposed last week. The government had promptly halted the use of sugarcane juice and Chinese syrup for ethanol production on December 7. Despite this, existing proposals from Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for ethanol supply were still approved.

Working on Ratios

Chopra mentioned that they are actively working on deciding the ratios of sugarcane juice to B-heavy molasses for ethanol production. Ethanol has already been produced from sugarcane juice earlier in the ongoing supply year. An official from the Ministry of Food stated that approximately six lakh tons of ethanol had been produced from sugarcane juice before issuing the previous order.

Supply Estimates

The government estimates that India’s sugar production will decrease to 3.2-3.3 crore tons in the sugar season of 2023-24, down from over 3.7 crore tons in the previous season.

Decision marks a significant shift

This decision marks a significant shift in the ethanol production landscape, allowing sugar mills to contribute to the ethanol market. As the government balances demand and supply, the move aims to boost ethanol production while ensuring sustainability in the sugar industry.

FAQs About India’s Approval for Ethanol Production

Q1: What led to the government’s decision to allow sugar mills to produce ethanol?
The decision came in response to industry requests and was made after a week of imposing restrictions on the use of sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses for ethanol production.

Q2: How much ethanol is expected to be produced from sugarcane juice and B-heavy molasses?
The total limit for sugar used in ethanol production is set at 17 lakh tons for the supply year 2023-24.

Q3: Were there previous orders restricting the use of sugarcane juice for ethanol production?
Yes, the government had imposed a ban on the use of sugarcane juice and Chinese syrup for ethanol production on December 7, 2023.

Q4: What is the estimated sugar production for the 2023-24 season?
The government anticipates a decrease in sugar production to 3.2-3.3 crore tons, compared to over 3.7 crore tons in the previous season.

Q5: How much ethanol has already been produced from sugarcane juice in the ongoing supply year?
Approximately six lakh tons of ethanol had been produced from sugarcane juice before the previous order restricting its use in ethanol production.

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