The government has invited fresh applications from those firms that have acquired land for ethanol projects and obtained environmental clearance to set up new distilleries or expansion of existing distilleries.
“In order to enhance ethanol production capacities in the country and to achieve 20 per cent blending by 2025, the Government of India has decided to open a window for six months for inviting fresh applications from project proponents to set up new distilleries or expansion of existing distilleries to produce 1-G ethanol,” Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said in a statement.
Consequently, to ensure that only serious project proponents are issued in-principle approval by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), the window has been opened for inviting fresh applications from those project proponents who have acquired land for project and obtained environmental clearance.
The central government’s decision will facilitate sugar mills to set up new distilleries or expand their existing distilleries and thereby help in diverting excess sugarcane/sugar to ethanol.
New grain-based distilleries would come up in deficit states like northeastern states, southern states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and states like Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. This would help in the distributed production of ethanol.
Ethanol distillation capacity of molasses-based distilleries was only 215 crore litre prior to 2014. However, in the past 7 years due to the policy changes made by the Centre, the capacity of molasses-based distilleries have increased by one and a half times and are currently at 569 crore litre, the government data showed.
The capacity of grain-based distilleries which was 206 crore litre in 2013 has increased to 280 crore litre. Thus, the total ethanol production capacity in the country has reached to 849 crore litre. However, ethanol production capacities are required to be enhanced to about 1700 crore litre to achieve 20 per cent blending by 2025. Opening of the window would help in augmentation of ethanol production capacities.