A pilot bus run on biodiesel, a mixture that is 95% diesel oil and a 5% additive of specially treated soy oil, was presented in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday, January 25.
The fuel was developed by the Engineering School at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro’s Post Graduate and Research Institute (Coppe/UFRJ).
According to Luciano Basto, of Coppe, biodiesel will mean savings on imports of fuel and a cleaner atmosphere because the new fuel is less aggressive to the environment and people.
The pilot bus is part of a program, RioBioDiesel, which is run by the state secretariat of Science and Technology and aims to have all the buses in Rio running on biodiesel by the 2007 Pan American games that will take place in the city.
The National Agro-energy Plan was launched in October by the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, Roberto Rodrigues, in Piracicaba, São Paulo. The initiative is part of the government’s effort to increase biofuel production.
Beginning in 2008, a 2% mixture of biodiesel with regular diesel fuel will become mandatory in Brazil. This represents an annual consumption of nearly 1 billion liters of biodiesel.
The plan provides for the simultaneous creation of a Brazilian agro-energy consortium, composed of various sectors, including petroleum industries and automobile manufacturers, and a special fund for the biodiesel sector.
According to Rodrigues, biodiesel will become increasingly relevant throughout the world. Germany alone already produces 1.2 billion liters annually. Specialists predict that in the coming decades, international agribusiness will be organized in four segments: food, fibers, biomass, and ornamental plants.
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