This paper evaluates life cycle energy analysis of molasses based ethanol (MOE) in Nepal. Net energy value (NEV), net renewable energy value (NREV) and energy yield ratio are used to evaluate the energy balance of MOE in Nepal. Total energy requirements in sugarcane farming, cane milling and ethanol conversion processes are estimated and energy allocation is made between co-products (molasses and sugar) as per their market prices.
The result shows negative NEV (−13.05 MJ/L), positive NREV (18.36 MJ/L) and energy yield ratio (7.47). The higher positive value of NREV and energy yield ratio reveal that a low amount of fossil fuels are required to produce 1 L of MOE. However, negative NEV reveals that the total energy consumption (both fossil and renewables) to produce the ethanol is higher than its final energy content. Nevertheless, the renewable energy contribution amounts to 91.7% of total energy requirements. The effect of the increased price of molasses and reduced energy consumption in the sugarcane milling and ethanol conversion are found to be significant in determining the energy values and yield ratio of MOE. In addition, there are clear measures that can be taken to improve efficiency along the production chain.
Finally, energy security, scarcity of hard currency for importing fossil fuels and opportunities for regional development are also strong reasons for considering local renewable energy options in developing countries.