Over 3,000 farmers to be benefited by the project
HYDERABAD: The Agri-business Incubator (ABI) at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics has notched up a major success as it helped a start-up company commercialise the alternative use of sweet sorghum for ethanol production.
The ethanol production through sweet sorghum will help boost bio-fuel production at a lesser cost than the sugarcane molasses-based ethanol while benefiting farmers in semi-arid areas.
ICRISAT board members, including Director General William D Dar, visited M/s Rusni Distilleries Pvt. Ltd., promoted by NRI technocrat Palani Swamy. The first of its kind 40-kilo litre per day distillery plant in the country, coming up at Mohammed Shapur village of Sangareddy mandal in Medak district, will commence production in June.
It has been made mandatory by the Union Government to blend petrol and diesel with ethanol initially by 5 per cent and gradually 10 per cent for reducing environmental pollution by cutting down carbon monoxide emission in automobiles and fuel import bill for the country.
It is estimated by blending petrol with 10 per cent bio-fuel, 80 million litres of petrol could be saved annually in the country. In the State alone the fuel ethanol requirement at 10 per cent blending will be 88.2 million litres. It will be at 100.8 million litres including pharma grade alcohol used in pharmaceuticals and homoeopathy.
It was ABI-ICRISAT that provided cultivars of sweet sorghum with high sugar content of stalk and cane yield after preliminary testing besides helping in multiplication of sufficient quantities of seed material, command area development, promoting sweet sorghum cultivation through farmers' melas, said Principal Scientist K.K. Sharma.
About 3,000 farmers will be benefited by the distillery as it procured sweet sorghum stalks at Rs.450 per tonne and used stored sorghum seed during the lean season. Even by-products could be used to generate power and organic manure.
The Rs.24-crore project is expected to generate Rs.25 to 30 crore annual turnover.
Selected for award
The ABI at ICRISAT has been selected for the Best Technology Incubator award-2005. Disclosing this to mediapersons, Principal Scientist K.K.Sharma said National Science and Technology Entrepreneurial Development Board, Ministry of Science and Technology, communicated this to the Director General of ICRISAT. A formal announcement would be made on May 11.