Bioethanol in Nigeria: comparative analysis of sugarcane and sweet sorghum as feedstock sources
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This review discusses the relative merits of sweet sorghum and sugarcane crops for the expanding bioethanol sector in Nigeria. We have compared, from a number of perspectives, sugarcane molasses and sweet sorghum stalk juice as biomass sources for Nigerian fuel alcohol fermentations and the findings indicate that sweet sorghum is most suited in terms of the adaptability of this crop to harsh climatic and cultivation conditions. In terms of environmental impact, sweet sorghum cultivation is more water efficient, requires less energy input, fertilization and agrochemical application. The concept of life cycle analysis was used to compare the environmental, social and economic impacts of using sweet sorghum stalk juice and sugarcane molasses. Sweet sorghum represents a more favourable biomass source and there is great potential for sustainable development and utilization of sweet sorghum for bioenergy production in Nigeria. However, there is need for well defined, structured, coordinated, targeted and monitored scientific efforts and investments in order to realize maximum associated benefits.