Brazil Sets Aside US$ 2.8 Million to Fund Research in Algae Biofuel

Biofuel from algae in Brazil The Brazilian government is eager to fund the development of seaweed-based biodiesel production, Brazil intends to allocate 4.5 million Brazilian reais (about US$ 2.8 million) in non-refundable credits to research projects exploring the use of aquaculture or micro-algae products in biodiesel production.

According to a decree signed by the Ministries of Environment, and Science and Technology, research centers interested in the field of study have until September 25 to present their proposals to the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development.

The Brazilian government is willing to finance projects based on the following:

* The development of low-cost micro-algae farming techniques that may be used in oil production as a raw material for biodiesel production;

* Studies assessing the potential of different micro-algae types;

* Studies on the economic feasibility of farmed micro algae processes for biodiesel production;

* Research of cost-effective and efficient micro-algae collection and subsequent oil extraction processes.

The selected projects will be announced in October and financing will be released for the projects in December.

Brazil already obtains bio-diesel from oil-producing plants such as castor, sunflower, soy, and palm and is a world leader in ethanol from sugar cane.

The government managed oil and gas corporation Petrobras recently inaugurated the first of its three vegetable fuel processing industrial plants.

The Brazilian Government intends to incorporate new raw materials, such as seaweed, that today already function as an experimental source for biodiesel production in various countries including the United States, Japan, and Argentina.

The State of Rio Grande do Norte Agricultural Research Company (EMPARN) to the northeast of the country is already developing large-scale seaweed-based biodiesel production techniques. According to company studies, seaweed's bio-fuel production capacity is 25 times that of any other vegetable. (FIS)

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