Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest Lecture on Sugar Industry - Day 2

Guest Lecture on Sugar Industry - Day 2

By Mr. G. S. C. Rao, President, The Sugar Technologist's Association of India
On the afternoon of 9th September 2011, we the students at DoMS were addressed by Mr. G. S. C. Rao, President of The Sugar Technologist's Association of India and Executive Director, Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd.

The address was mainly focused on the Sugar Industry and how there is a huge opportunity for techno managers in this area. Mr. Rao started off by giving facts and figures about where the Indian Sugar Industry stands in the world. India is the largest consumer of sugar with a production capacity of 24 million tons and a consumption of 22 million tons. There are around 10 million sugarcane farmers in our country. There are approximately 620 sugar factories spread around 8 states in India. But in the next ten years the demand would rise to about 34 million tons. Here lies the interest for the young budding managers of our country to seek an opportunity.

Sugarcane which was initially used just for the production of raw and refined sugar is now used for multiple purposes. Ethanol is generally available as a byproduct of sugar production. It can be used as a biofuel alternative to gasoline, and is widely used in cars in Brazil. It is an alternative to gasoline, and may become the primary product of sugarcane processing, rather than sugar. For example, in Brazil there are Flexi-Cars which run either on ethanol only or a hybrid which runs on petrol as well as ethanol. Moreover ethanol is cost effective and causes less pollution as well. Imagine a situation where all countries produce only ethanol and then the whole world can get rid of the dictating terms of the oil rich nations. Hereby lies the importance of the sugar industry.

Bagasse the fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice. It is currently used as a biofuel and as a renewable resource in the manufacture of pulp and paper products and building materials. Agave bagasse is a similar material that consists of the tissue of the blue agave after extraction of the sap. Moreover about 400 different chemicals can be made from sugarcane with some of them being highly importance from manufacturing perspective.

A part of the ethanol produced is then used to generate electricity which is distributed in the neighboring areas of a certain sugar plant or can be sold off to a government power grid. Sugarcane molasses are used in the drinking alcohol segment, for example- in producing rum. Now where does India fit in this whole scenario? According to Mr. Rao, India is a big player in the sugar industry because of two sole reasons. One being size and the other being technology. Nowhere in the world is sugarcane used to produce such a diverse range of products and utilities. The one area in which India has huge opportunity is to use ethanol as a renewable source of energy like Brazil along with other unconventional energy sources like solar energy and hydro energy. This can be a great boost for developing other industries as well which require large amount of fuel and power.

According to Mr. Rao ,the importance of sugar industry as a source of energy can be seen by the recent changes that are taking place amongst the oil companies. Huge oil companies like Shell and BP are now trying to acquire sugarcane fields because they see ethanol as the future ahead. India, which has a very amiable environment for the sugarcane plantation, must see this as a huge business opportunity.

Thus Mr. Rao concluded by inviting all the students to any queries they had. He asked us to see the sugar industry as an area that has huge potential and extended his help to each and everyone of us if should we would like to join this mammoth industry.

1 comment:

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