Sweet Sorghum ideal for biofuel production

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Hyderabad, Oct 22 (UNI) Due to little scope for increasing the area under cultivation for sugarcane, National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS) Director N Seetharama today said Sweet Sorghum could provide the alternative feedstock for production of ethanol for blending with petrol.

Talking to reporters here, he said promotion of Sweet Sorghum as a dedicated bio-energy crop would go a long way for country's energy security and mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions without compromising food security.

Mr Seetharama said it was high time, farmers switched over to more remunerative Sweet Sorghum from sugarcane as the former had high ability to adapt and tolerate drought, heat and saline-alkaline soil conditions.

A farmer could get a gross income from stalks of Rs 26,250 per hectare and grain yield of Rs 5000 by investing Rs 15,000 per hectare.

Making it clear that biofuel production from Sweet Sorghum did not not compromise on food security, he said it would cater to the food and fodder demand of dryland farmers, besides producing biofuel from stalks leading to additional income to rural communities.

Superior quality of alcohol could be produced from Sweet Sorghum with low or negligible effluents in the spent wash than molasses, he explained, adding that crushed stalk after extraction of juice could be used as animal feed and also for cogeneration of power.

Water requirement of this crop was only one-fourth of sugarcane on a comparable time scale. It required about 22 per cent less water than maize with comparable biomass yield, he said.


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