We have never sought to find out how feasible it would be to grind the cane and make alcohol directly from the juice

Dear Editor,

I am again seeing that the point I am making about sugar and ethanol production is not understood. We need to define the problem more accurately, or we can never seek the solution. What I am saying is that we take far too many tonnes of cane to make a tonne of sugar. This is due to the very vegetative nature of our sugar cane; in other countries with less rainfall the tonnes of cane required to make a tonne of sugar are between 6 to 8 tonnes of cane to make a tonne of sugar. In Guyana it is between 12-15, and the fact is that were we to make ethanol from our sugar it would take approximately the same amount of the sugar cane biomass from Brazil and Guyana to produce one gallon of ethanol. To the best of my knowledge the Albion trial was to see how feasible it would be to make fuel grade ethanol from our molasses!

We have never sought to find out how feasible it would be to grind the cane and make alcohol directly from the juice, and not attempt to go through the very expensive process to manufacture sugar. We have never conducted an investigation like this. GuySuCo has continued to show us that they would not even consider such a thing.

And in Wednesday’s Stabroek News (August 9) there appears a letter from Sookram Persaud captioned ‘Albion produced ethanol until mid-2015’. From my reading of Mr Persaud’s letter it gives a hint of what the Albion ethanol plant was doing, ie producing ethanol at nearly fuel grade quality 99.9 % (compared to high wine rum which has far more water and is only 80% pure) and that they were experimenting with the blend which would be best suited for vehicles being the percentage of ethanol to gasoline.

In previous letters I have said that rough calculations show that twice the amount of earnings per acre can be obtained from grinding and producing fuel ethanol, than grinding and producing sugar. If my rough calculations are valid there is more than a little evidence to tell me that this is something which we must investigate further. But as this writer says the CEO of GuySuCo said no after 2015.  And it is that which I have identified as the stumbling block to this entire situation.  Mr Hanoman even told parliament that if GuySuCo produced ethanol it would ruin the rum industry. Clearly he is totally unaware that all fuel grade ethanol has additives which would make drinking it very unpleasant, much the same as methylated spirits. You don’t think that people are selling ethanol around the world as 99.9 % pure anhydrous ethanol without such additives?

Yours faithfully,

Tony Vieira

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