Indian sugar industries are transforming into multiproduct manufacturing sugar complexes to utilize every part of canes supplied to the factory and to improve the financial viability of the sugar industry. At present the sugar industry is in economic turbulence as the cane procurement price has increased substantially in the last decade, but the sugar price has not increased correspondingly. Higher cane price is inevitable due to increased cost of cultivation including harvesting charges and competition from other remunerative crops hence the sugar factories are looking for other options to sustain and improve the profitability. Most of the sugar factories have now converted into sugar complexes with the combined production of sugar, ethanol, cogeneration, bio-compost etc., Sugar mills are normally crushing for a period of around 150-180 days of the cane harvesting season. The other subsidiary units viz., distilleries and cogeneration are receiving the raw materials from the sugar mill viz., molasses and bagasse respectively during the cane crushing period. The ancillary units are kept idle for the rest of the long period hence under-utilized for want of feed stock. Augmenting the feedstocks supply with the addition production and supply of biomass during the offseason will improve the capacity utilization to the greater extent. Recent advancement in conversion of lignocellulose into ethanol also requires additional biomass. Based on these requirements exclusive energycanes were developed which can be cultivated in the factory’s captive energy gardens for the year round supply of raw materials. A vast area available under marginal lands which are not suitable for sugarcane or other crop can be utilized for this purpose. Sugarcane (Saccharum spp. L.) and Erianthus arundinaceus (EA) belong to the Andropogoneae tribe belongs to C4 grasses that are known for their high efficiency of photosynthesis and biomass production. Hence for the development of biofuel canes or energycanes, EA and Saccharum spontaneum (SS) have recently emerged as top candidates for biofuel production.
At ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore breeding for energycanes was started in the year 2009 and harvestable biomass, drymatter production, juice quality and fibre % cane were worked out in the segregating population to identify biofuel efficient canes. Two types of energycanes were contemplated based on the fibre content in cane and brix % in juice. The clones with >15% juice brix and >20% cane fibre were designated as Type I energycanes. While the juice can be used for direct fermentation in distilleries to produce alcohol, the bagasse will be used in the cogeneration unit for generating electricity. Type II energy canes should have >25% cane fibre and the juice brix should be <15%. This type of energycanes can be harvested as whole canes with trash and tops and directly fed into the boilers for producing electricity. A total of 21 energycanes were developed which are suitable for cultivation for the production of biomass under different agro-climatic conditions are as detailed below 1. SBIEC 11001 2. SBIEC 11002 3. SBIEC 11003 4. SBIEC 11004 5. SBIEC 11005 6. SBIEC 11006 7. SBIEC 11007 8. SBIEC 11008 9. IA 1167 10. IA 3135 11. SBIEC 13001 12. SBIEC 13002 13. SBIEC 13005 14. SBIEC 13007 15. SBIEC 13008 16. SBIEC 13009 17. SBIEC 13010 18. SBIEC 14001 19. SBIEC 14002 20. SBIEC 14003 21. SBIEC 14006 The identified clones are not recommended for cultivation under normal agroclimatic conditional as these clones should not compete with sugarcane for area. Hence it should be planted where any other agricultural crop cannot be profitably cultivated like low rainfall, water logging, saline and alkaline soils etc.,
Brief Description of Technology Including Salient Features:
The first set of 10 energycanes were identified where the harvestable biomass yield ranged from 279.01 t/ha (EC 11001) to 160.49 t/ha (EC 11008). While four energycanes recorded >25% fibre content, six energycane showed >15% juice brix. Among them EC 11002, EC 11003, EC 11005, EC 11008, IA 1167 and IA 3135 were type I energy cane or dual purpose energycanes with more than 15% juice brix and >20% fibre content. The other four clones viz., EC 11001, EC 11004, EC 11006 and EC 11007 were Type II energycanes with high fibre content. All these ten energy canes along with three standards were evaluated in RBD in two replications at M/s. Nava Bharath Ventures Limited (Sugar Division) at Dharmavaram (AP) under well managed conditions to understand the performance in another location. SBIEC 11002 (312.04 t/ha) was the best for harvestable biomass yield followed by SBIEC 11003 (272.69 t/ha), SBIEC 11005 (254.86 t/ha) and SBIEC 11008 (214.12 t/ha). All these clones are dual purpose canes developed by introgressing S. spontaneum. Fibre % cane was the highest with the clone SBIEC 11004 (28.4) followed by IA 3135 (27.8), SBIEC 11001(24.2), SBIEC 11005 (23.4) and SBIEC 11007 (22.0). While SBIEC 11001 and SBIEC 11007 are Type I energy cane, IA 3135 and SBIEC 11005 are dual purpose canes. The clone SBIEC 11005 recorded higher fibre %, harvestable biomass and acceptable juice Brix (13.26%) hence a promising clone as dual purpose energy cane. The clone SBIEC 13010 recorded the highest harvestable biomass of 205.59 t/ha followed by and SBIEC 13005 (200.55 t/ha). SBIEC 13002 (26.44) recorded the highest fibre % cane with 16.5 % of juice brix. In another experimental trial under limited irrigation condition, six energycanes were identified which include four type II energycanes and two Type I energycanes Among the six energycanes selected SBIEC 14006, a Type II energycane produced 233.65 t/ha of harvestable biomass with 27.24 % of cane fibre. Tall erect canes and nonflowering are the other desirable features of this energycane.
Energycane has large potential to ensure continuous supply of raw materials for biofuel industries throughout the year. In addition, India’s economy is rural based and one of the developmental parameter is the availability of power. It is estimated that establishment of 10MW/hr power industry requires about 700 of bagasse with 50% moisture per day. This power plant requires 3,700 ha of energycane plantation with average harvestable biomass potential of 150t/ha for uninterrupted supply of feedstock throughout the year. The power generated from this plant will be sufficient to cater the agriculture, domestic need and to support local agro based industries for a cluster of villages. This will improve the standard of living of the rural farmers and ensure the economic empowerment. Sugar mills with 20MW/hr cogeneration unit also require same area of energycane plantation to produce biomass for running the power plant during the crushing offseason to the extent of six months. In addition to the cogeneration industries for the generation of electric power, the biomass potential of the energycanes can be profitably utilised in the paper, particle board etc. The energycane biomass can be used for green energy production thus saving fossil fuel and as feedstock for the paper industries hence dependence of the forest wood will be reduced.
This technology is under trials in M/s. Godawari industries, Sammerwdi (Karnataka), M/s. Tamilnadu Newsprint and Paper Ltd., Karur, (Tamkil Nadu) and M/s. KPIT tecnologies, Pune (Maharashtra).
For licence requirement, the interested parties/firms/companies belong to:
1. Electricity power generation industries
2. Paper industries
3. Particle board production units
4. Hydrogen gas production units
5. Biorefinery units and
6. Eco-friendly dinnerware, plastic plates and food packaging containers,
ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute,
Phone: 0422 2472621