TECHNOCRATS AT the National Sugar Institute (NSI) have developed a method to produce oil fuel from sweet sorghum. The experiments in this direction have yielded good results.
NSI director, Dr GK Shukla, told Hindustan Times that earlier the sweet sorghum was used for producing sugar but the properties of the sorghum were not technically fit for forming good sugar crystals. Consequently, the idea to produce sugar from it was dropped .
During research process it was found that sorghum could produce better oil fuel in the country and would also help to bring down the oil import bill. He said at the NSI the project of taking out oil from weed for auto-vehicles was on experimental basis. However, in other states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the project was started on commercial basis. According to information, some private entrepreneurs had also proposed to opt for the technology of extracting fuel oil from this weed there. But in Uttar Pradesh no such entrepreneurs had come forward so far, he added.
Dr Shukla said that the oil extraction from the crop was in an advanced stage in Brazil where the government had allowed to mix 26 per cent sorghum oil in diesel and petrol for smooth running of auto vehicles. However, in India the maximum limit of mixing it with other fuel was just 10 per cent he said.
Dr Shukla further said that though the oil produced from sorghum would definitely curtail the import bill, but it required huge land for growing the weed or producing oil on large scale.
Many factory owners here who were impressed by the oil production through sorghum, could not take up the project for this reason.