Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highway hinted at government probing the use of ethanol and other fuel alternatives in the country at the 58th ACMA annuasl convention. He further said that ethanol could be used for resolving problems related to fuel in India. Currently, India has a surplus of around 50 to 60 lakh tonnes of sugar, which is estimated to further grow this year, he added. The government is therefore planning to shift focus on generating ethanol as compared to sugar, with Blackstrap molasses.
Sharing his thoughts on the new policy, he said, the government plans to increase growth of molasses from 4 percent to 6 percent and also convert sugar into blackstrap molasses which will aide production of ethanol in the country. The petroleum ministry will have a separate and attractive pricing pattern for the ethanol produced in this manner. He also revealed government’s plan to produce ethanol directly from sugarcane juice, which will be priced competitively and further help increasing its production.
Gadkari also threw light on government’s plan to use cotton straw, wheat straw, to rice straw to produce bio-ethanol and other bio-fuel. The petroleum ministry is also planning to convert biomass to ethanol, which is also in pipeline. It is also chalking out plans to change the crop pattern and increase corn plantation in a bid to produce bio-ethanol from corn. He also said that this would require support from auto manufacturers without whom this initiative could not be taken further.