Sustainability Increases if Ethanol is Made from Sugarcane Juice (Download PDF)

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Sustainability Increases if Ethanol is Made from Sugarcane Juice

  • Sugarcane is a cash crop that requires large amount of water and land to cultivate.
  • It has enjoyed immense political patronage which led to India becoming the second-largest sugarcane producer.
  • However, the country has also witnessed tremendous challenge to its resources.
Sugar Production and Consumption

Overview

  • Producing ethanol from sugarcane juice rather than from molasses will help India meet its nutritional requirements.
  • The step will also make resources like land and water more sustainable.
  • Researchers from Stanford University, USA carried out first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis of India՚s sugar industry.
  • They showed how the country needs to move towards a more sustainable cultivation of sugarcane.
  • Sugarcane cultivation has benefitted from entrenched policies that incentivized production for decades.
  • Sugarcane uses more land and water and thus, reduces the use of these resources for foods that are rich in micro-nutrients.
  • Most of the people can purchase sugar at subsidized rates, but do not have access to adequate protein and micronutrients that are needed for cognitive growth.
  • A shift to using sugarcane for energy production will not only be beneficial for increasing access to nutrients but also in transitioning to renewable energy.
  • The Union government՚s goal of increasing the ethanol-to-blending rate to 20 percent by 2030 from a current six per cent can be achieved by using sugarcane juice to produce ethanol.
  • The national biofuel policy also encourages production of ethanol from sugarcane juice in addition to molasses.
  • Using sugarcane juice can allow for the target to be met without needing water and land beyond current levels.
  • Government expenditure to subsidize sugar can also be alleviated by allowing the government to sell sugar below cost if sugarcane juice is used to produce ethanol.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 24, 2020

Environment/Ecology, Down-to-Earth

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