A FUEL ETHANOL PLANT IN MADURAI: TECHNO-ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY STUDYS.R. SETHU NARAYANAN
The demand for alternative renewable biofuels have been surging ahead over the past several years owing to increased concern over the fast depletion and price rise of fossil fuels, global warming and other environmental issues, and high energy demand not only from the developed countries but also from the fast developing (Brazil, Russia, India and China- BRIC nations) and developing countries. In order to reduce green house gas emissions, the implementation of ethanol blended petrol (EBP) and biodiesel blended petrol (BBP) programs have been undertaken by several countries which have increased the demand for bioethanol. In this context, a techno-economic feasibility to set up a fuel ethanol plant in Madurai, a southern district of Tamilnadu in India has been carried out. In the current economic climate, it is found that fuel ethanol plant employing the latest pervaporation based ethanol separation process coupled to both sugarcane molasses and algae based ethanol production appears to be feasible owing to fluctuations in molasses production and price. Further, a fuel ethanol plant employing flexible raw materials for the production process will be more sustainable in the long run in this monsoon dependent region. It is hoped that this study will help the different stakeholders of the biofuel industry to support the adaptation of the latest technology over the outdated conventional fermentation-distillation process which not only drains the capital investment but could potentially slow down the biofuels program within the country.
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