Assessing Viability of Bio-ethanol Production from Sweet Sorghum. Working Paper Series no. 30

Basavaraj, G and Rao, P P and Basu, K and Ravinder Reddy, Ch and Ashok Kumar, A and Srinivasa Rao, P and Reddy, B V S (2012) Assessing Viability of Bio-ethanol Production from Sweet Sorghum. Working Paper Series no. 30. Working Paper. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India:.

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RP-Market Institutions and Policies

Additional Information

This paper was prepared under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) – Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), GOI, project ‘Value Chain Model for Bioethanol Production from Sweet Sorghum in Rainfed Areas through Collective Action and Partnership’. We are grateful to NAIP for the funding support to implement the project. The authors would like to thank Rusni Distilleries Pvt. Ltd. for providing the data on sweet sorghum ethanol processing. We express our sincere thanks to MG Chandrakanth, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bangalore, Lalith Achoth, Professor & Head, Dairy and Business Economics, Karnataka Veterinary, Animal & Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU), Bangalore and Franklin Simtowe, Scientist, ICRISAT for their critical comments on the earlier version of the draft. However, the authors are solely responsible for any errors of omission in the paper.


To meet the energy requirement for transport, blending of ethanol with automotive fuels has been mandated in India as in several other countries across the globe. Currently, the entire blending requirement has to come from molasses (by-product of sugarcane). Ethanol produced from molasses will not be able to meet the blending targets due to cyclical nature of sugarcane production resulting in shortage of molasses and competing uses (potable and pharmaceutical use) of ethanol produced from molasses. This has promoted research efforts to augment energy sources that are sustainable and economically viable. One such source that can be commercially exploited for ethanol production is sweet sorghum. The sugars in the stalks of sweet sorghum can be crushed to produce juice, which can be processed into ethanol for blending. Since ethanol production is from the stalks, the harvested grain from sweet sorghum adds to food basket and the diversion land for ethanol production will not comprise on food production. An attempt is made in the paper to assess viability of ethanol production from sweet sorghum. Net Present Value (NPV) the indicator of economic viability is negative and would thus be difficult for the industry to take off under the current scenario of administered price of ethanol, feedstock price and recovery rate. To meet the future blending requirements ethanol production has to be augmented from alternate sources like sweet sorghum through appropriate policy support and improvement in technical efficiency parameters.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Divisions: RP-Market Institutions and Policies
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bio-ethanol, Sweet sorghum bio-ethanol, Economic viability, Land assessment
Subjects: Mandate crops > Sorghum
Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Mr Sanat Kumar Behera
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 10:41
Last Modified: 29 May 2017 05:37
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