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Sugarcane-Based Ethanol: Metabolic Engineering Pathways, and the Benefits

Sugarcane-Based Ethanol: Metabolic Engineering Pathways, and the Benefits

To date, starches and sugarcane-based ethanol are considered to be the best sources of biofuels around the globe. These sources are produced industrially in a large number of countries in the world including India. However, the primary aim of biofuel production is to create fuels from lignocellulosic biomass-derived sugars with optimum properties along with compatibilities with today’s infrastructure for effective and efficient distribution.

To achieve this goal, a large number of metabolic pathways have been created to come up with different fuel molecules categorized as follows:

• Fermentative alcohols (butanol and isobutanol)
• Non-fermentative alcohols from 2-keto acid pathways, and
• Fatty acids-derived fuels and isoprenoid-derived fuels.

Manufacturers in India with a commendable sugar ethanol capacity are laying stress on metabolic engineering to bring betterment in productivity and the yield of different key biofuel molecules. The strategies that these manufacturers are using in these metabolic engineering efforts are summarized as under:

• Identification of better enzymes
• Flux control of intermediates and precursors
• Elimination of competing pathways
• Redox balance and cofactor regeneration, and
• Bypassing regulatory mechanisms.

Apart from metabolic engineering, these Indian manufacturers are also optimizing hot strains by bringing betterment in sugar uptake and utilization, as well as by increasing tolerance to metabolic intermediates and/or biofuel products toxic, and hydrolysates.

This blog further explores the benefits of sugar-based ethanol while comparing it with other resources such as corn.

Sugarcane-based ethanol production is easy to produce with no extra enzymes

When it comes to the advantages of sugar distillery ethanol, they are quite apparent, particularly in comparison to corn-based ethanol. Sugarcane scores very heavily over corn and even other sources because of the overall performance and ease of production. Corn calls for various extra enzymes, and thus adds more steps, and consequently to the cost of the process. On the other hand, sugarcane-based ethanol is easy to produce and offers other benefits as well. 

Sugarcane ethanol can be considered much more predictable

While corn and some other sources for making biofuels often grow over varying conditions, making it extremely difficult to calculate how much yield will be available to create ethanol, sugarcane ethanol can be considered much more predictable. And, these factors matter most for the individual plants that produce corn-based ethanol.

The sugar crop in different parts of the world including India remains relatively stable, year after year. This factor can make a huge difference for a variety of reasons. The crop of sugarcane can be taken to the processing plant in a more predictable and consistent way. There is no reason to be worrisome for any sugar-based ethanol plant concerning whether the producer will meet its contractual obligations. 

Advantageous energy balance

When it comes to calculating or considering the energy balance, the input vs. the energy inputted can also be considered higher in terms of sugarcane ethanol. If we take the example of corn, for each unit of energy inputted into corn ethanol production, what is created includes 1.3 units. For each unit of energy utilized to create sugarcane ethanol, what is created includes 8 units. This provides yet another salient advantage to sugarcane ethanol when compared to others.   

Advantageous for the environment as it decreases harmful emissions

The upsides of ethanol use for energy creation in India and the world are different. The most significant and far-reaching by the media is certainly the decrease in outflows: ecological authorities have estimated that the utilization of sugarcane ethanol can diminish the country's ozone-depleting substance emanations by 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Moreover, one can likewise consider the prospective economic development that the country can have due to this unmatched source of energy. Needless to say, owing to its environment-related advantages, sugar-based ethanol has the potential to make the world a better place to live, and for sure, it is going to be a global industry in the times to come.

Ethanol adds oxygen to fuel which diminishes air contamination and unsafe tailpipe discharges. Ethanol likewise decreases Ozone harming substance emanations by up to 90% when contrasted with petroleum products, performing better compared to some other fluid biofuel delivered today on a commercial scale.

Past its positive ecological effect, ethanol can likewise improve a vehicle's performance. A supercharged fuel like this creates more power in higher compression engines. Apart from it, ethanol also assists with lessening worldwide dependency on petroleum products and can be utilized to diversify a country's energy grid.

Sugarcane ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel manufactured through the fermentation of sugarcane juice and molasses. It is a green and affordable biofuel. Emerging as a leading renewable fuel for the transportation sector not only in India but also across the globe, sugar-based ethanol contributes to decarbonizing the modern transportation system.

The stature of Dhampur Bio Organics Limited among India’s top ethanol producers

Dhampur Bio Organics Limited is among India’s top ethanol producers. The company makes use of sugarcane juice or molasses as the raw material to produce ethanol in its world-class distillery which it has established in Asmoli. This plant has a capacity of 312,500 liters per day on B-Heavy and 250,000 liters per day on C-Heavy. Adhering strictly to the latest environmental standards, the plant produces the following:

Fuel Ethanol (Anhydrous Alcohol) as per BIS specification (IS 15464:2004)

It is used by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) for blending with motor spirit (Petrol). Dhampur Bio Organics Limited enjoys the reputation of being one of the largest suppliers of Fuel Ethanol to OMCs across India.

As per the nature of the products it manufactures and supplies, Dhampur Bio Organics Limited’s guiding principle is summarized in its Credo – Sustainability & Balance. The company goes beyond the call of duty to fulfill all the regulatory compliances considering it a core tenet of its business.

Right from the very beginning, the company has focused on innovation to come up with products that can benefit the entire world. Apart from Bio Fuels, the company is also involved in various other high-growth business verticals such as Renewable Energy, Domestic Spirits, ENA, Bagasse, and Organic Fertilizer.