Sweet Sorghum: A Smart Crop to Meet the Demands of Food, Fodder, Fuel and Feed uri icon

abstract

  • At present, energy demand for transport in India is primarily met through non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels. Being short in domestic production, India mainly depends on crude oil imports. In the near future oil imports are slated to rise further with no major breakthrough in domestic oil production. A compounding factor is the rise in the number of vehicles on the road, which has grown by 10 % each year between 2001 and 2006, and is expected to rise further. Against this backdrop, there is a renewed interest in energy augmentation through biofuel crops to meet the energy demand in the country. One such promising biofuel crop is sweet sorghum, whose sugar-rich stocks can be crushed to produce juice, then fermented into bio-ethanol, and used to make a blended fuel replacing conventional gasoline (Reddy et al. 2005). Sweet sorghum is a C4 plant with high photosynthetic efficiency. It produces a high biomass (up to 40-50 t ha-1) in a short time (4 months) under rain-fed conditions (Reddy, et al., 2005). One advantage of sweet sorghum compared to other crops is that using sweet sorghum for fuel does not reduce its contribution as food because the grain can be harvested for food, and the bagasse (the fiber left over after extraction of juice from sweet sorghum) that remains after the extraction of juice used for biofuel may be used for fodder (Nalini Kumari et al. 2011). Hence, sweet sorghum is a ?smart? crop, which meets the triple requirements of food, fuel and fodder

publication date

  • 2012