Pune, 12th January 2024: Former Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare of India and President of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), Sharad Pawar, has suggested that sugar mills facing financial challenges due to restrictions on ethanol production should consider producing Compressed Biogas (CBG). The advice comes in response to the central government’s limitations on ethanol production, impacting sugar mills across the country and creating a critical situation regarding the sale of B-heavy molasses.
The central government imposed restrictions on the production of ethanol from sugarcane juice and sugarcane on December 7, 2023, with a limit of 1.7 lakh tonnes of sugar set for the production of ethanol from sugar syrup and B-heavy molasses. This has led to reduced distillation project capacities and challenges in managing stocks of B-heavy molasses.
Pawar highlighted the government’s mandate for blending Compressed Biogas (CBG) with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Piped Natural Gas (PNG) by 2023. The target is to achieve a five per cent CBG mix by 2028-29. Sugar factories have the potential to produce CBG from press mud and spent wash.
Pawar urged sugar mills to explore CBG production as a viable alternative, citing the country’s CBG production capacity of 20 lakh tonnes, which could generate an annual income of Rs. 12 thousand crores.