NSI and ICAR-CTCRI to work together for production of ethanol from Cassava

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National Sugar Institute, Kanpur and ICAR-Central Tuber Crop Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram to work together for production of ethanol from Cassava. Director’s and experts from the two institutes had discussions on the matter through video conferencing.

For boosting ethanol production to attain higher blending in petrol, it is essential that feed stocks other than those from sugar industry and grains are developed. Sugar Industry has a limitations and the diversion of sugar for ethanol is always dependent of sugar prices. If the sugar prices go up, the sugar factories may not be tempted for diversion of sugar to produce ethanol thus adversely affecting supplies, said Shri Narendra Mohan, Director.

Cassava at present is grown majorly in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and North East states and is used as staple food or for producing starch & sago. It has excellent starch content and thus it can be potential source for production of bio-ethanol said Dr. (Mrs.), M.N. Sheela, Director, ICAR-Central Tuber Crop Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram. The per hectare yield of Cassava are highest in India and there are several varieties which are not fit for human consumption but because of starch content can be utilized for ethanol production, she added.

We have conducted trials on Cassava starch and preliminary studies indicate ethanol of yield of about 550 gm/kg of Cassava starch. The two institutes shall jointly conduct trials on pilot plant scale at National Sugar Institute, Kanpur to assess yield of ethanol from Cassava starch, Cassava flour and Cassava roots and also the economics of production, said Shri Narendra Mohan, Director, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur.

The major advantage with this crop is round the year availability due to flexibility in planting and harvesting and its high starch content. After optimization of process parameters during pilot plant trials, if the economics works out to be favorable, the cultivation may be taken up in non-traditional areas. We expect at a team of ICAR-Central Tuber Crop Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram soon at NSI, Kanpur to take the matter forward, said Director, NSI, Kanpur

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