Many sugar mills in Maharashtra are shifting their business towards the production of ethanol due to high demand from the oil industry and more returns. Despite certain facilities being non-functional, the state has increased its ethanol production capacity from 26 lakh litres in 2021-22 to 244 crore litres this year.
Shekhar Gaikwad, sugar commissioner of state, said, “There is more demand from oil industries for ethanol blending but existing mills are not able to provide the required supply. Also, maximum sugar industries are diverting sugarcane directly for ethanol production instead of opting for sugar production. We are following the Brazil model, as per market demand they are diverting their production between sugar and ethanol.”
Gaikwad said, “If we compare the last three years’ data, we can say that demand is more than supply. The demand for ethanol was met by the sugar mills in 2020-21 to the tune of 89.81 per cent, in 2021-22 to the tune of 85 per cent and this year in 2022-23 it was 36.27 per cent.”
“This year there is ₹12,000 crore turnover in the ethanol sector in Maharashtra,” said Gaikwad.