Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will inaugurate today Brazil’s first biodiesel plant in the city of Floriano, state of PiauÀ, kicking off a multi-pronged development program.
The plant according to government’s plans should lower pollution, promote family farming and social inclusion, and reduce the country’s dependence on imported diesel oil through the use of renewable fuels.
One of the most attractive aspects of the government’s biodiesel program is that it will benefit people in Brazil’s poorest region – the semi-arid Northeast (where Floriano is located).
Family farming in the semi-arid Northeast will get a boost from the biodiesel program because the program will use certain crops, especially castor beans, that can be grown easily there.
In a first stage, diesel oil will receive a 2% additive of vegetable oil. It is estimated that during the first three years of operation 200,000 family farms in the Northeast, plus another 50,000 in other parts of the country, will get into the biodiesel productive chain.
According to the program timetable, by 2008 all diesel oil used in Brazil will be 2% vegetable oil. In 2013 the mandatory percentage of vegetable oil will rise to 5%.
Arnaldo de Campos, of the Ministry of Agrarian Development, explains that biodiesel is definitely a growth industry. Production is expected to rise to 800 million liters annually in three years and there is a market potential for another 40 biodiesel plants around the country like the one going into operation in Floriano, he says.
In the Floriano region, biodiesel will create 70 jobs at the plant and another 300 in the process of growing and harvesting castor beans and removing the oil from them.