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Brazil Steps Up Biodiesel Production

Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras wants to reach production of around 855 million liters of biodiesel a year by 2011. The firm is currently investing US$ 60 million in the development and implementation of three basic projects for the processing of vegetable diesel.

The projects use as raw material the oil from cotton, dendê and castor seeds, products cultivated by around 70,000 small family farmers. The company still uses as complementary inputs soy tallow and oil.

Company figures show that in the construction phase of the unit, 1,200 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs will be generated, and the beginning of operations is forecasted for the 4th quarter of 2007. The production is turned to supplying the Petrobras Distributor demand for biodiesel in the northeast of the country.

In one of the projects, Petrobras is developing a pilot plant for the processing of biodiesel from grain, mainly castor seed, in the city of Guamaré, in the northeastern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte.

The production technology to be used was developed by the company. Using conventional technology, tests with different oils will increase the company's productive capacity to 42 cubic meters a day (42,000 liters/day).

The company is also analyzing another nine biodiesel production projects in the country: two in Rio Grande do Sul, in the south; two in Paraná (also south); one in Araraquara, in the interior of the southeastern state of São Paulo; one in Mato Grosso do Sul, in the midwest; two in Mato Grosso; and one in Amazonas, in the north.

Together, if approved, the projects will result in production of 1.2 cubic meters of biodiesel per year – equivalent to 1.2 billion liters (317 million gallons) of the product.

Biodiesel is also produced by private companies in the country, being Brasil Ecodiesel the main producer. Petrobras buys the fuel from these companies. Nowadays, the legislation authorizes the addition of 2% biodiesel to common diesel in the country. The mixture will become compulsory starting in 2008.

ABr

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