What is happening around the world?
The United States, Brazil and China are respectively the top manufacturers of bioethanol globally, with India coming in a close fourth. The US ethanol market has been growing at over 20 percent per annum for the last 3 years or so mainly due to the concerns regarding energy security.
Brazil has unarguably been the biggest bioethanol success story globally since the 1970s. The Middle Eastern Oil Embargo during the period heavily influenced the policy of Brazil to look at alternative sources of fuelling the nation. Cars in Brazil today, run on at least 25 percent ethanol mixed with petrol, and all around 80 percent of all automobiles are flexible fuel automobiles, capable of running on up to 100 percent ethanol. In Brazil, over 4 million vehicles have run on pure ethanol produced by energy crops. The source of Brazilian bioethanol is almost exclusively from sugarcane.
Emulating Brazil’s example, the United States of America is currently investing heavily in its own biofuels production.
All petrol in the USA is currently a blend with 10 percent bioethanol and the Government aims to increase this proportion in the future. New vehicles sold in the country also must have the flexible fuel engine type.
In India, bioethanol is currently produced by fermentation of molasses, which is a by-product of the sugar industry. The yield of sugarcane in India varies from an average of 77 tons/ha in tropical states to about 52 tons/ha in subtropical states. The yield of sugar on an average is approximately 105 Kg per ton of cane.
About 40 Kg of molasses is produced per ton of cane from which about 10 liters of ethanol can be obtained. If the sugarcane is directly and fully used in ethanol manufacture, the yield of ethanol is 70 liters/ton of Sugarcane.