First Generation Ethanol Sector by Activated Iron

A Greatest Reformation in First Generation Ethanol Sector by Activated Iron Ore Fine- India’s spectacular economic progress has lifted millions out of poverty. However economic progress has also brought intolerable pollution. India is going to increase energy produced from non fossil- fuels and taking all efforts for mitigating of air pollution with targets to achieve a 20% to 30% reduction in particles below 2.5 PM concentrations. (1PM =I Micron = 1000 nanometer).India is left with a large reserve of iron ore fines of around 1 PM as waste material after extraction of iron in steel industries. We can now convert this waste material into key industrial material for the industrial preparation of a new value added product named nano activator. The National Mineral Development Corporation has fixed Rs 2910 per ton, the price of iron ore fine in the month of January 2020. Although air pollution from iron ore fines causes respiratory diseases it is the best source of mineral iron in the form of nano activator ( 1000 nano to 0.1 nano diameter size) and can replace nitrogen – a mineral,  obtained from fertilizers like urea, Di – hydrogen ammonium phosphate and Ammonium Sulphate, etc which are currently used as nutrients in ethanol industries. Ethanol is blended with petrol and is generally prepared by fermentation of molasses or rice in the presence of yeast and fertilizer combo.Nitrogen provides energy to yeast in the form of ATP to break glucose into alcohol.The source of energy is mitochondria which is a component present in each of yeast cell where this energy generated.  In each of these mitochondria, there are too many assembly lines that take up nitrogen from fertilizers and oxygen by breaking glucose for nutrition. Lesser the number of ATP molecules in the yeast cell weaker will the energy to convert glucose into ethanol. But, the outsourcing of fertilizers as a nutrient of yeast has a disadvantage, the nitrogen is non metellic and this makes a bond with iron obtained from fermentation tank thus nitrogen is not sufficiently available to yeast for nutrition and lesser energy is produced. If we replace fertilizers with the activated form of iron ore fine, using gallionella bacterial strains ferrous oxide is oxidised to ferric oxide. Ferric oxide so formed reacts with oxalic acid present in fermentation medium to give ferri- oxalate. Photoreduction of Ferri- oxalate into Ferro- oxalate absorbs heat radiations to provide additional energy, besides ATP produced from other nitrogen resources like amino acids, proteins, etc naturally present in the medium.Therefore by outsourcing iron ore fine in place of fertilizers, complete conversion glucose into ethanol becomes possible.Since Ferro-oxalate passes into the sludge from where iron oxide can be recycled, it may also decrease the cost of effluent treatment and local air pollution. It is time for India to take bolder steps to modernize its ethanol sector. Positive initial steps include the National Action Plan on waste management. 150 tons of rice requires 350 kg of urea per day in alcohol industries. Fertilizers are not cheap in India. Over the next decade, the costs of fuel ethanol generation in India can drop if a domestic nano iron ore fine gains scale, creating jobs at home in the process. The international price of urea is 20, 000 Rs/ ton but the nano iron ore fine is too cheaper than urea. When fertilizers are used as nutrient one ton of molasses produces only 240 liters of ethanol/day but replacement of fertilizers by nano iron ore fine increases approximately 3 to 5 % recovery of ethanol and one ton of molasses may then produce 270-280 liters of ethanol per day in a single distillery.  There are approximately 300 to 400 alcohol industries in India using molasses or grains as feedstock and all of them use urea as nutrients.India needs 25 million tonnes of crude oil ( greatest CO2 emitter) per year which at rupees 70 / dollar comes to rupees 84 thousand crores. When 5% ethanol( lowest CO2 emitter) blending is done with petrol, we save 20 lakh tonnes of crude oil which saves import bill one hundred crores dollar. Both income generation and saving in input cost of fertilizers could be used to boost transfers to low-income households through the social safety net system and to fund national public investments in health, education, and infrastructure.Shifting away from fertilizers and making the right investment in low carbon infrastructure will have lasting implications for decades to come. India’s leadership on the environment and its choices on energy and infrastructure will have a direct impact on the global fight against climate change and on the well being of its citizens.  Today, businesses are investing in renewable energy because it is economically attractive. The challenge is to bring down the price of storage.If resource efficiency and waste management are given the right impetus to demonstrate that it makes both economic and environmental sense, India stands to gain immensely.   If  we were to apply the 6 R principles of the circular  economy , ie reduce, reuse, recycle, redesign, remanufacture, refurbish nano iron oxide, it can bring down the urea and DAP import to zero for ethanol production. Not only will this cut down India’s import bill, but it will also lead to new enterprises carrying out new activities.While every effort made to ensure as little waste is generated as possible in any process of production and consumption, we need all our imagination and innovation to convert waste into a variety of useful products. Replacement of fertilizers by iron ore fine in the ethanol industry is a good example of not just recycling, but upcycling as well.  As the nutrient is cost-effective tells us that we need new business models for their success. And many such new ideas need to be supported in every sphere of the economy.Ultimately,  waste has to be positioned as a resource for which entrepreneurs are willing to pay money. 2020 is an essential milestone towards a global commitment to achieve sustainable developments ensuring that no one is left behind. It is clear that linear modal of produce, consume, and discard needs rejuvenation. Resource efficiency and waste management will need to be the key drivers of a green strategy because that is now the only viable path , capable of creating growth, new enterprises, and a cleaner environment. While the approximate making cost of 240 liters of ethanol presently ranges Rs 70 to Rs 80 excluding feedstocks (molasses or grain), it will come down to Rs 50 by using activated iron ore fine per 240 liters of ethanol production. On average a single distillery ferment, 250 tons of molasses needs 250 kg of urea to produce 60 000 liters ethanol. This will now be able to produce approximately 65000 liters per day just by using the same amount of activated iron ore fine with a slight increase in yeast concentration.The main challenge is to stand against powerful urea manufacturer’s wasted interests who have large investments in the fertilizer industries that don’t want to lose their existing investments accumulated over the years and years of building out their empires. They would happily pay a lot of money to block new technologies from entering the market through legislative lobbying, artificial subsidies for fertilizers.(Patent No 273206) The project is  sanctioned by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research New Delhi& SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre. IIT Kanpur. (09- 07- 19)Results of Increased recovery of Ethanol had been verified by National Sugar Institute, Kanpur but Official Copy of Result from NSI will only be available until the sactioned letter of the project is not issued by Department of Scientific and  Industrial Research and its SIDBI Innovation & Incubation Center IIT Kanpur (TePP outreach cum cluster innovation center), which is pending since 18/ 09/ 2019.

Dr Anil Kumar Gupta.Retired Head & Associate Professor, Chemistry,DAV College Kanpur.(ak_gupta56@ yahoo.co.in.)9935360458.