Environment & Biodiversity

Green Energy and CBG Production Pressmud

Biggest Sugar Producer: India has surpassed Brazil to become the world’s biggest sugar producer since 2021-22.

  • Biggest Sugar Producer: India has surpassed Brazil to become the world’s biggest sugar producer since 2021-22.
  • Second-Largest Exporter: India is also the world’s second-largest sugar exporter.
  • Growth of the Ethanol Biofuel Sector: The growth of this sector has strengthened the sugar industry and enhanced the financial health of sugar mills.

Pressmud: A Beneficial Byproduct

  • Pressmud, also known as filter cake or press cake, is a byproduct of sugar manufacturing.
  • It is obtained by repeatedly filtering cane juice prior to sugar extraction.
  • Per tonne of crushed cane, around 3-4 percent of press mud is generated.
  • Pressmud is traditionally recycled as manure through composting and distributed to nearby farms.
  • Pressmud is recognised as a green energy resource since it can be utilised to create biogas by anaerobic digestion, resulting in compressed biogas (CBG).
  • Because of its high concentration of micronutrients, it is useful to crops and horticulture.

Problems with Pressmud 

  • Storage Problems: Pressmud gradually decomposes, affecting long-term storage and increasing manufacturing costs.
  • Price Increase: As its potential has been recognised, pressmud prices have risen significantly.

The Benefits and Difficulties of Using Pressmud as a CBG Feedstock

  • Simplifying the Supply Chain: Using pressmud reduces the complications involved with agricultural residue supply chains.
  • Quality & Pre-treatment: Unlike municipal solid trash, pressmud has constant quality and lacks lignin, which reduces pre-treatment expenses.
  • Conversion Efficiency: When compared to animal dung and agricultural residue, pressmud is more efficient and cost-effective as a feedstock for CBG manufacture.
  • Factors affecting the economy and competition: The rising cost of pressmud, as well as competition for its usage in fertilisers and bio-composting, provide issues.

India’s Regional Production and Sugar Mills

  • Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are the primary sugarcane producing states in India, accounting for a large portion of the country’s sugarcane production.
  • Operational Sugar Mills: India has 531 operational sugar mills in 2022-23.
  • output of Sugar and Pressmud: Total sugar output was 32.74 million tonnes, with around 11.4 million tonnes of pressmud.

Potential and Next Steps

  • CBG Potential: The accessible pressmud has the potential to produce considerable amounts of CBG, with significant economic rewards.
  • Interventions Required: In order to fully realise this potential, states must enact bioenergy regulations, manage pressmud prices, and form long-term partnerships with sugar mills.
  • Research and Training: It is critical to develop pressmud storage methods and to train CBG plant operators.
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