Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sugar Industry's Energy Potential II :Ethanol & BIOGAS

Ethanol is equivalent or substitute for Petrol used in the Cars.Normally some carburettor adjustments have to be made if 100% Ethanol is to be used.HOwever,if mixed with Petrol in a ratio of 25% , no carburettor adjustments are required.In Pakistan,Ethanol mixed Petrol is being marketted by PSO.The response from ordinary consumers has not been very well for understandable skepticism.Institutional customers should be targetted first , including military,government departments and large companies.In Brazil ,Ethanol is a usual and successful automotive fuel.Pakista is also a producer of Ethanol and has a considerable potential due to its large sugar industry.

In Pakistan, there are 84 sugar mills producing 3.5 million tons of sugar annually.There is a production of 2.5 million ton of Molasses and 500,000 tons of Ethanol, 75% of which is exported and the rest consumed for non-fuel industrial purposes.There is an upper limit on sugar plantation acreage but production could be doubled gradually by enhancing agricultural productivity and cane quality.This a is another question that sugar cane consume a lot of water and we are falling short of water.More sugar consumption may not be good for health reasons also,although for poor workers sugar happens to be the only readily available source of energy from a cup of heavily sweetened tea.

Ther is a potential to produce 1.5 million tons of Ethanol which means some 3 million liter of Petrol.Domestic consunption of motor spirit is 1.5 million tons, of aviation fuel another .6 million tons and of kerosene another .25 million tons.Thus self sufficiency in Petrol is on the cards,provided all sugar mills install distilleries. At present only 10 sugar mills have installed distilleries out of some 80 mills.There is a long way often converting potential into reality.

There is an added advantage.Considerable amount of biogas can be extracted from the waste water of Distilleries.A 50,000 liter distillery, a typical size, can generate 50000 units of electricity a day which means an revenue income( not profit) of 2.5 million rupees a day,and Rs 300 million per year.Recently Shakarganj sugar mills near Faisalabad have installed a bio-gas based Power Plant of 7 MW. 7 IC engines of 1 MW each have been installed. Bio-gas based I.C. engines are a relatively new development. Bio-gas, on the average,is 65% Methane and 35% CO2.
It is almost same as the gas at UCh.

These investments are eligible to CDM revenues ,for these power plants consume methane which would have otherwise been evaporated to the atmosphere through gradual decay of methanated matter.An added advantage, heavy pollutants from the distillery is extracted of reducing most of the BOD load.A potential of 500 MW of Green Power is expected from this Bio-gas alone and another 2000 MW from Bagasse, and self-sufficiency in Petrol. Perhaps too good to be true.But it is true indeed.It can be done and perhaps will be done eventually depending on the relative economics and options.

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