The minister said that the country had non-edible seeds that could be used for extracting oil in large quantities.
The Petroleum Ministry is also considering the production of first-generation ethanol. "We are surplus in sugar and some countries are asking us to sell it to them at Rs 10 to 11 per kg. We are surplus by 5 to 6 million tonnes. It's going to go up next year and it would pose a challenge in terms of what to do with it", he said.
The government has approved a policy to push molasses production to 6 per cent from 4 per cent, currently. Plans are afoot to convert sugar to molasses. This will bump up the production of ethanol and enable competitive pricing, he added.
"The idea is to make ethanol from sugarcane and not sugar. The parity will be such that producers will be incentivised to make ethanol," he said.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum Ministry has also approved plans of setting up of five bio-ethanol plants that will derive ethanol from rice, wheat, cotton straws and bamboo. "We are also planning to change crop pattern and push the production of corn for
bio-ethanol till we have surplus production of wheat and rice," said Gadkari.