Developing a Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Value Chain

Reddy, B V S and Ashok Kumar, A and Ravinder Reddy, Ch and Rao, P P and Patil , J.V (2013) Developing a Sweet Sorghum Ethanol Value Chain. Documentation. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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RP-Dryland Cereals

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This publication contains results of interventions around the production of ethanol from sweet sorghum, organized in the form of a book by consortium partners of ICAR-NAIP-ICRISAT sweet sorghum sub-project. We acknowledge the help and support received from the scientists and authorities of following consortium institutions for enabling successful completion of the project activities and documenting the outputs/outcomes in the form of chapters as presented in this book: Central Research Institute for Dryland agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), Hyderabad, Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University (SVVU), Tirupati, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)-Patancheru, Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR), Rajendernagar, Hyderabad, and Rusni Distillery Pvt. Ltd., Medak. ICRISAT, the Project Implementing Agency (PIA), acknowledges the support of the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP), New Delhi for funding the sub-project and consortium advisory committee members for their timely advice on project targets and achievements. Our special acknowledgment also goes to the farmers’ association, Aakruthi Agricultural Associates of India an NGO, Ibrahimbad village administration and project farmers for their active role and support in accomplishing the project activities successfully. We also thank ‘Team ICRISAT’ for their guidance, support and cooperation. We would like to express our gratitude to all those people outside the project who provided support, deliberated, read, wrote, offered comments, allowed us to quote their remarks and assisted in the editing, proofreading and designing of this book.


Sweet sorghum is a fascinating crop by virtue of its rapid growth, high biomass production potential, and adaptability to a range of conditions, high water use efficiency and its multipurpose use. Although scientists have been working on sweet sorghum for many years, the focus was mainly on its fodder value and use. Recognition of its utility as biofuel feedstock is a recent development. Considering the energy requirements, particularly of a rapidly growing economy like India and its ethanol blending commitments, attention to sweet sorghum as an alternative feedstock for bioethanol production is a perfect choice. Keeping this in view, a sub-project on ‘Sweet sorghum ethanol value chain development’ was developed with the help of consortium partners that included the Directorate of Sorghum Research (DSR), Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Sri Venkateshwara Veterinary University (SVVU) and Rusni Distilleries, which was eventually approved for funding by the National Agricultural Innovation Project under the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (NAIP (ICAR)). Taking a cue from the on-going genetic and crop management research on sweet sorghum, the sub-project was built on developing a sustainable sweet sorghum ethanol value chain by exploring the various options to increase onfarm productivity, enhance the harvest window, plug loopholes in the supply chain, increase the juice extraction efficiency and its storage, mechanize sweet sorghum production and processing, and efficiently utilize the by-products. These major activities were shared among the partners based on their competencies, and were implemented in letter and spirit to build a successful sweet sorghum ethanol value chain. The economic competitiveness of sweet sorghum vis-à-vis other feedstocks; economics of sweet sorghum for ethanol production, and the biofuel policy of India are also discussed in detail. The progress made in this endeavor, the experiences gained and lessons learned are thoroughly documented and presented in this book. A few critical issues include favorable policy intervention in terms of stalk pricing (subsidizing raw material cost to the industry) and ethanol pricing (subsidizing current ethanol production cost at an optimum level until the initial teething problems are overcome) and institutional support to help the industry to scale up the processing of sweet sorghum for bioethanol production more rapidly. xi This is a joint work of all the partners in the consortium and we have cherished working together. We thank the NAIP (ICAR) for funding this work and providing us an opportunity to work together to provide a road map for promotion of sweet sorghum towards ethanol production. We are confident that this report gives a realistic depiction of state-of-the-art technologies, the progress made in developing sweet sorghum, the opportunities and issues involved and the way forward to make the sweet sorghum ethanol value chain successful and sustainable.

Item Type: Monograph (Documentation)
Divisions: RP-Dryland Cereals
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sweet Sorghum, Ethanol, Value Chain
Subjects: Mandate crops > Sorghum
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2013 10:33
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 06:21
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