November 11, 2019

Biofuels Account for 53% of the Energy in Brazil's Transportation

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Brazil has been on the forefront of the use of biofuels in the transportation sector for many years and their RenovaBio Program (RenewBio Program) is designed to continue the development and increased use of biofuels in Brazil. The advantages of the RenovaBio program and the increased use of biofuels in Brazil was the subject of a recent Brazilian Senate hearing focusing on science and technology.

In the hearing, the Director of Biofuels in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Miguel Ivan Lacerda, testified that biofuels already account for 53% of the energy in the Brazilian transportation sector and that ethanol and biodiesel save Brazilian consumers R$ 5 billion per year.

Biofuels lower the costs for motorists in the cities, truckers hauling freight, and farmers across Brazil. Biofuels also have the advantage of being produced locally generating employment and incomes at the local level. He contended that biofuels are now an essential component of the transportation sector in Brazil.

Since the 1970's, ethanol and biodiesel have been viewed as the alternative to imported petroleum products. Brazil never has had enough infrastructure to import large quantities of gasoline even though they currently spend R$ 70 billion per year on imported gasoline.

Biofuels also have environmental advantages as well. According to the director of Biofuels in the Ministry of Mines and Energy, since biofuels have lower carbon emissions, the use of biofuels in Brazil over the next ten years could give environmental benefits equivalent to the planting of 5 billion trees.

Biochemist Glaucia Mendes, presented a study published in Nature that indicated by the year 2045, Brazilian ethanol could substitute for 13% of the petroleum used worldwide while at the same time reducing carbon emissions by 5.6%.

Researchers from Embrapa presented studies they have been conduction on low carbon agriculture in tropical Brazil and they feel there is a tremendous opportunity for Brazil to capture a significant part of what is destined to be the carbon marketplace.