Assessing Viability of Bio-ethanol Production from Sweet Sorghum. Working Paper Series no. 30 uri icon


  • To meet the energy requirement for transport, blending of ethanol with automotive fuelshas been mandated in India as in several other countries across the globe. Currently, theentire blending requirement has to come from molasses (by-product of sugarcane). Ethanolproduced from molasses will not be able to meet the blending targets due to cyclical natureof sugarcane production resulting in shortage of molasses and competing uses (potable andpharmaceutical use) of ethanol produced from molasses. This has promoted research effortsto augment energy sources that are sustainable and economically viable. One such sourcethat can be commercially exploited for ethanol production is sweet sorghum. The sugars inthe stalks of sweet sorghum can be crushed to produce juice, which can be processed intoethanol for blending. Since ethanol production is from the stalks, the harvested grain fromsweet sorghum adds to food basket and the diversion land for ethanol production will notcomprise on food production. An attempt is made in the paper to assess viability of ethanolproduction from sweet sorghum. Net Present Value (NPV) the indicator of economic viabilityis negative and would thus be difficult for the industry to take off under the current scenarioof administered price of ethanol, feedstock price and recovery rate. To meet the futureblending requirements ethanol production has to be augmented from alternate sources likesweet sorghum through appropriate policy support and improvement in technical efficiencyparameters

publication date

  • 2012