Uttar Pradesh is set to be the top ethanol producer in the country as the size of the industry in the state has crossed Rs 12,000 crore mark.
UP’s ethanol capacity is pegged at 2 billion litres per annum, up nearly eight times from 240 million litres per annum five years ago.
“The state’s ethanol capacity is expected to touch 2.25 billion litres per annum in the next couple of years,” Additional Chief Secretary (Sugar Industry) Sanjay Bhoosreddy said.
He said private sector distilleries had invested almost Rs 7,500 crore to upgrade the state’s composite ethanol capacity over the past five years.
The Yogi Adityanath government is trying to integrate the sugarcane crop with a lucrative ethanol value chain in order to provide remunerative prices to the farmers and protect the sector from the cyclical nature of the sugar market.
“In the current 2022-23 sugarcane crushing season, five private mills will directly manufacture ethanol from sugarcane juice without producing sugar. Besides, 71 other mills will produce ethanol from B-heavy molasses,” Bhoosreddy said.
Meanwhile, the state’s sugarcane area is estimated to surge by 3 per cent or 84,000 hectares to more than 2.85 million hectares, while the sugarcane production is estimated at 2.35 crore MT in the current season. A total of 120 sugar mills — 93 private units, 24 cooperative units, and three UP State Sugar Corporation units — will operate during the current cane crushing season.
While UP has topped the sugar production chart for many years, Maharashtra has taken the lead in the past couple of years due to higher sugarcane diversion for ethanol production in UP. Besides, UP leads in ethanol-blended fuel ratio owing to ready availability and robust logistics supply chain.
More than 4.5 million rural households are associated with the UP sugarcane sector, which includes sugar, ethanol, molasses, power cogeneration, jaggery, khandsari (unrefined sugar), etc, in its by-product portfolio. The consolidated annual sugarcane economy is worth nearly Rs 50,000 crore in UP.