Brazil to Start Producing Second-Generation Ethanol in September

Ethanol summit Brazilian president's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's Chief of Staff Dilma Roussef stated that Brazil intends to continue its global leadership in the second-generation ethanol, made from cellulose. Rousseff talked about this at the opening of the 2nd Ethanol Summit, a meeting at Sheraton Hotel, in São Paulo, that brings together professionals in the chain in Brazil and abroad.

The event should end on Wednesday, June 3. According to the ministers, who represented president Lula at the meeting, apart from maintaining global leadership in ethanol, the government is also prepared to reach ethanol production from lignocellulose.

Roussef recalled that Petrobras should have a second-generation ethanol demonstration plant in September 2010. Production for commercial use should take place in 2012. Ethanol produced from cellulose was one of the great themes of the first day of the meeting. Brazil, according to estimates presented at the event, may produce 17.3 billion liters of second-generation ethanol in 2020. The country is developing technology for production from sugarcane bagasse.

One of the executives who discussed the theme was Steen Riisgaard, the president of NovoZymes, a multinational company in bio-innovation, which has operations in Brazil and works with research in the area of cellulosic ethanol.

According to forecasts by Riisgaard, in 2020, 27% of all the ethanol produced in Brazil, which should be 65.3 billion liters a year, should be second generation. The expectation, according to him, is for exports to reach 15.7 billion liters. NovoZymes operates in research in the area in Brazil, China and the Untied States.

"But this is your area (the area of ethanol). You already export biofuels, this is the advantage with regard to the United States and China," he said. There is a global race, mainly between Brazil and the United States, through technology and production of second-generation ethanol, which should be the great green fuel of the future.

Riisgaard said that in Europe there is great support to consumption of second-generation ethanol. "It is all heading towards the second generation overcoming the first," he said.

Ricardo Madureira, the president at Cana Vialis, a company from the Monsanto group that works in research for new varieties of cane, spoke about the kinds of products being developed by the company for production of ethanol from biomass.

According to him, the research progresses in the direction of cane with more fiber, less sugar and more biomass. He adds that it is possible to triple the value of biomass with the new varieties. This should permit greater production of ethanol from the same quantity of sugarcane.

Production of this technology should make the sector more attractive to foreign investment. The production of ethanol in the country already attracts foreigners. According to figures disclosed by the São Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union (Unica), foreigners currently have 22 mills in Brazil.

This figure should rise to 31 by the 2012/2013 crop. By this time, from the current 7%, foreign participation should rise to 12%. According to the president at the Unica, Marcos Jank, most of the foreign capital comes from the United States and Europe.

The sector is among those with greatest investment over revenues in Brazil, according to Jank. Total investment reached 20 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 10 billion) over four years. According to the president at Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), Luciano Coutinho, in the first quarter of this year the bank made available 3.2 billion reais (US$ 1.6 billion) for investment in ethanol, 36% more than in the same period in 2008. In the whole of last year the credit to the sector totaled 6.5 billion reais (US$ 3.3 billion). According to Dilma, in 2004 the value was 680 million (US$ 340 million).

The Ethanol Summit was a great panel for defense of the fuel against global warming. The biofuel is capable of reducing CO2 emissions by 90% when compared to petrol, according to figures disclosed yesterday. Since the 1970s, Brazil has avoided emissions of 600 million tons of CO2 due to the use of ethanol, said Jank. The need to fight global warming was also the theme of the address of former US president Bill Clinton, a guest at the event.

Clinton spoke about the Kyoto Protocol and justified the fact that the United States did not sign it. The former president said that few countries – just four – should comply with their targets. "Who knows if another four may do so," he said. According to Clinton, these countries knew that they could not comply with their targets, as they could not answer "how" they would do so. Brazil, according to him, was successful in answering "how" to reduce emissions of CO2, through investment in ethanol and sugarcane.

Clinton praised the actions of the city of São Paulo for reduction of emissions of pollutants, but said that in Brazil 75% of emissions come from deforestation and agriculture. He defended the adoption of a global agreement in the environmental area, replacing Kyoto Protocol, for the trade of carbon credits. According to him, this should allow for the "forest to remain intact". He said that Brazil and the United States should adopt this system and work together in actions to fight global warming.

In the meeting at the Unica, two programs to benefit the ethanol productive sector were released. One of them is called Agora (Now) and should disclose the benefits of the use of clean energies. One of the pillars of the program includes the disclosing of information on the matter at 11,000 schools in eight states.

There should also be a study for the launching of more precise figures about the sector. The other program is called Renovação (Renewal) and it should qualify workers in the sugarcane sector. The intention is to prepare sugarcane cutters, who will have no work due to the mechanization of sugarcane crops, to work in the mills or in other sectors. Seven thousand people should be trained each year.

Anba

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