Ethanol is predominantly generated in India as a by-product of the sugar industry, and it's utilised in cosmetics, medications, and alcoholic beverages, as well as plastics, polishes, and plasticisers.
As a result, all of India's major sugar manufacturers are among the top ethanol producers.
India is one of the world's biggest importers of petroleum products, and the country i mports 82 per cent of its crude oil. To address the issue of rising oil and petroleum imports, the Indian government is looking into various options, including increasing renewable energy output, employing ethanol as an alternative to gasoline, and so on.
The enormous supply of food grains and sugar cane and the government's goal to gradually replace petrol with ethanol are motivating many entrepreneurs around the country to look into ethanol manufacturing.
Let us explore all the variables involved in effectively beginning and running an ethanol production company.
Did you know? Entrepreneurs that want to start new distilleries or expand existing ones to make ethanol from grains or sugarcane might get financial help from the government. The support includes interest grants of 6% per year or 50% of the interest rate charged by banks qualified for refinancing from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development for five years.
Also Read: Chemical Business in India
Top Ethanol Producers In India
1. Bajaj Hindusthan Limited
Bajaj Hindusthan Sugar Ltd, situated in Mumbai, is India's largest sugar and ethanol manufacturer. The company was created in 1931 and came out as a pioneer in the Indian sugar industry. The first factory, located in Gola Gokarannath, Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur district, had a crushing capacity of up to 400 Tonnes of cane each day. The same mill can now crush 13000 Mt of sugar cane per day.
The firm began ethanol manufacturing in India in 1944. BHSL currently has a crushing capacity of up to 136000 TCD and an ethanol distillation capacity of 800000 litres/day.
BHSL produces ethanol at fourteen of its integrated sugar processing units in Uttar Pradesh. During FY 21, the company produced 90900 KL of ethanol, a 50 per cent increase over the previous year. BHSL is on a steady upward trajectory. With the present government policy focused on blended petrol, BHSL aspires to be one of the world's leading ethanol companies. In FY 21, the company's revenue was ₹6,688 crores.
2. Balrampur Chini Mills Limited
Balarampur Chini first opened its doors in 1975. The Kolkata based firm is one of the leading sugar and ethanol manufacturers in India. The company h as a 520 KLPD ethanol distillation capacity and a 76500 TCD cane crushing capacity.
Balarampur, Mankapur, and Gularia are among the distilleries (all in Uttar Pradesh). At Maizapur, a new distillery that has a capacity of around 320 KLPD is in the works. The company made ₹4,812 crores in sales in FY 21.
To boost the proportion of ethanol in blending with petrol, the company wants to increase the production from molasses of ethanol with no residual sugar or sugar cane syrup. Furthermore, its active environmental management program aims to reduce the distillery's environmental impact and neutralise its carbon footprint.
3. Dalmia Bharat Sugar and Industries Limited
In 1994, the company opened its first sugar and ethanol plant in Ramgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Following that, the busines s extended its ethanol-producing capacity by constructing Greenfield plants in Uttar Pradesh's Jawaharpur and Nigohi and Maharashtra's Kolhapur. As a result, the company's total capacity of ethanol distillation is now 305 KLPD (kilolitres/day).
By distilling molasses, Dalmia Bharat Sugar creates a variety of ethanol products. Extra neutral alcohol (ENA), Rectified Spirit (RS), and drinkable triple-distilled alcohol are among the products available. They are employed in the liquor business and cosmetics and perfumes. There's also anhydrous ethanol of fuel-grade for mixing with gasoline and Denatured spirit, a solvent used in the chemical sector.
The company's total crushing capacity of TCD 35000 places it in India's top tier of the sugar businesses. The corporation has well-defined conservation and environmental strategy, and commercial benefits have resulted from an emphasis on water conservation and emissions reduction. In FY 21, the company's entire income was estimated to be at ₹2,700 crores.
4. Shree Renuka Sugars Limited
Shree Renuka Sugars is a bio-energy corporation and a multinational agri business conglomerate. The corporation is one of the country's leading sugar and ethanol producers. Five of the company's seven integrated sugar mills located in Karnataka are: Havalga, Munoli, Athani, Ratbag, Gokak- the other two are in Maharashtra- Panchganga, and Ratnaprabha.
Shree Renuka is one of India's top ethanol manufacturers, with a total sugarcane crushing capacity of TCD 35000 and an ethanol distillation capacity of 930 KLPD. Fuel-grade ethanol is the majority of the company's output, which is sold to oil firms. The company's expected turnover in FY 21 is nearly ₹5,100 crores.
5. Triveni Group
Triveni Group (formed in 1932, commonly known as Ganga Sugar Corporation Ltd) is considered one of the country's major integrated sugar makers, having seven sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh. Furthermore, the company's two distilleries at Sabitgarh and Muzaffarnagar (both in Uttar Pradesh) have a combined Ethanol capacity of 320 KLPD.
The company is increasing its ethanol capacity to 660 KLPD, which should be operational in a year. In addition, two new distilleries are in the works. The corporation is a major ethanol supplier to Indian oil companies for petrol blends. The company's revenue in FY 21 was reported to be ₹4,664 crores.
How do Ethanol Manufacturers in India Produce the Fuel?
For the production of ethanol, ethanol factories in India employ the following types of raw materials:
- Based on sugar and molasses.
- Materials of the second generation (biomass, mixed grain, and agricultural waste and Grain-based).
The Manufacturing Process
India's ethanol producers use one of two methods to produce the fuel:
- As a petrochemical, ethylene hydration, ethylene and steam are crossed over an acidic catalyst at high temperature and pressure.
- By fermenting sugars and yeast in a biological process, raw materials such as sugarcane and maise are fermented and distilled to produce ethanol.
The recent focus on ethanol emerging as the petrol additive is a simple, sweet twist for ethanol manufacturers in India.
Due to high oil prices, ethanol addition has been accelerated from the current 8% to a litre of petrol. On the other hand, the government is working hard to raise the rate to 12 per cent soon, and eventually 20 per cent.
Ethanol producers in India will soon be able to accelerate production with the help of necessary regulatory backing. But, majorly, this change will immediately address the industry's surplus sugar production concerns.
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