Although new reserves of oil shale are still abundant, petroleum will eventually soon be exhausted. In addition, political instability in some oil-producing countries makes an erratic supply of oil. Coal reserves and heavy oil (residues), still sufficient to meet the needs of the next few years, but the resulting air pollution has made the Earth warmer and the quality of the environment declines sharply. With the above considerations, energy users are beginning to turn to alternative energy.
Some alternative energy that can an is energy from natural energy, nuclear energy, and energy from biological sources. Alternative energy derived from nature such as solar, wind, waves, hydro and geothermal can an into cheaply and environmentally friendly. Another alternative energy, derived from nuclear power, is still debatable for its disadvantages, as it requires very high safety standards and its estimated nuclear fuel reserves, Uranium, are also shrinking. Included in the category of renewable energy, derived from biological sources, are gas substitution gasoline substitutes, diesel-based vegetable oil fuels (e.g. castor oil), and co-generation.
Traditional agricultural industries, especially sugar mills; has a huge opportunity to participate in providing this environmentally friendly and inexpensive fuel. Sugar-producing countries, such as Hawaii (US), Brazil, Cuba, India, Thailand, Australia have taken advantage of these opportunities. They do sugarcane-based co-generation and sell their excess electricity to state electricity companies.
In addition to the co-generation that began in Hawaii; Brazil in the early 80s have made technological breakthroughs by researching intensively and sustainably then massively producing alcohol as a substitute or supply of fuel oil, called gasohol. Gasohol is used to fuel private vehicles and public transport, replacing gasoline. Initially, gasohol was produced by utilizing a by-product of a sugar factory in the form of drops, but in subsequent developments, they produced directly from young cane juice when monosaccharide concentration is at maximum levels.
Furthermore, recently the United States and Europe are developing biorefining technology, which is the processing technology of cellulose biomass into alcohol. With the technology, all wood-based cellulosic biomass materials, such as bagasse, logs, twigs, and leaves can be converted into liquid fuels. The technology is also expected to reduce air pollution and global warming because of the greenhouse effect, as the impact of directly burning waste and agricultural waste.
With all capabilities of a sugar factory had, we can further think that a sugar factory can be an energy powerhouse in addition to its nature as food factory.