Category Archives: Bioethanol

The success of sugarcane is the fruit of pioneering science and technology, study concludes

canaBy Elton Alisson

Agência FAPESP – Brazil is recognized as the country with the world’s most efficient biofuel production, which is principally based on sugarcane. The success that the country has enjoyed in transforming this plant into a bioenergy source, however, is due more to a pioneering initiative to create an industrial system for ethanol production than the plant itself.

The system began to be developed in the 1930s when an agronomic development program that made the plant highly efficient was established. Despite these efforts, the agronomic performance of sugarcane is still below that of the other raw materials tested for this purpose over the last few years in different parts of world.

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Brazil world leader in sugarcane and ethanol knowledge and technology

Mini 018FAPESP – Brazil is the largest producer of ethanol from sugarcane in the world and occupies the leadership in technology for its production. The advances in technology have meant that its productivity is outstanding and the costs of production much lower than those of its international competitors. This leadership is due to the long work of many years undertaken by researchers in institutions of higher education and research and in private enterprises, which has resulted in a valuable baggage of knowledge and technology on sugarcane and its derivatives and on the process of ethanol manufacture.
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First Look at Sorghum Genome May Find New Food, Fuel Uses

23The Crop Site – Patrick Brown, an assistant professor in plant breeding and genetics, said having a complete characterization of the locations (loci) affecting specific traits will speed up the adaptation of sorghum and other related grasses to new production systems for both food and fuel.

Brown is working on the project through the Energy Biosciences Institute at the U of I, hoping to use the sorghum findings as a launching pad for working with complex genomes of other feedstocks. The EBI provided the startup funding for the study.

To adapt the drought-resistant, tropical sorghum to temperate climates, Brown explained that sorghum lines were converted over the years by selecting and crossing exotic lines with temperate-adapted lines to create lines that were photoperiod-insensitive for early maturity, as well as shorter plants that could be machine-harvested. >>Continue Reading<<

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Seven billion people and biofuels production

0000002639-Agroenergia_baixaEmbrapa Agroenergy – Seven billion inhabitants. This figure marked the year 2011. The life of every human being, like mine or yours, counts as one in this figure. With this number of people on the Planet come to the fore fundamental questions about power, energy supply and sustainability. Thus, the debate over “food production versus energy generation” remains a topic that deserves attention of society and professionals working in research and development of biofuels. For discussion of this issue, the first question to be considered is the fact that the extensive productions of foods require the use of large energy, mainly as a fertilizer and fuel. Nowadays, the fuel is needed to move tractors, combines, trucks, water pumps, and other machinery. Fertilizers are needed to replace the soil nutrients for the plants. The use of heat and electricity are also critical in several agro-industrial processes. For those reasons, it is clear that to produce food for the population is necessary to use energy. Continue reading

Operational flexibility: A key factor in the development of biofuel technologies

011Abstract of ScienceDirect – Research on biofuels has been focused on improving yield of the conversion process while reducing the capital cost. Currently, 88% of the US ethanol production capacity and 96% of the planned expansion of capacity utilizes a dry milling process, which has a higher ethanol yield and a lower capital cost per gallon capacity than a wet milling process. However, the fact that all the corn ethanol plants that were bankrupted or idled during the 2008 economy recession used dry milling processes while all the plants that used wet milling processes had survived suggests that the efficiency driven approach may be flawed. This paper compares the economic performances of a typical dry milling plant with those of a typical wet milling plant under scenarios when market conditions are favorable or unfavorable to the corn ethanol production. The results show that the wet milling plant exhibits better performance under both scenarios due to its operational flexibility (e.g. having starch, high fructose corn syrup, gluten meal, gluten feed, and corn oil in its product portfolio). It is argued that the development of biofuel technologies should take operational flexibility into consideration in order to absorb disruptions from unexpected feedstock supply and volatile market conditions.

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Research study on bioethanol weighs alternatives for second generation biofuels

8By Fernando Cunha
Agência FAPESP – Recent discoveries about plants that may be considered alternative and complementary to the production of second generation ethanol obtained from biomass were reported during the Japan-Brazil Symposium on Research Collaboration.
Organized jointly by FAPESP and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the event was held at Rikkyo University March 15-61, with support from the Embassy of Brazil in Tokyo.
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The use of ethanol as fuel in Brazil will complete a century

0000002639-Agroenergia_baixaEmbrapa Agroenergy – It has long been used fuel produced by microorganisms in Brazil. Ethanol was first used in Otto cycle engines, about 50 years before the launch of Proalcool. Historical records show that in 1925, a 4-cylinder car brand Ford participated in a race of 230 km in the city of Rio de Janeiro, using 70% ethyl alcohol as fuel. Image of this car is immortalized in the book commemorating 80 years of the creation of the National Institute of Technology and is reproduced in Figure 1. Subsequently, the INT was itself made possible the production of anhydrous ethanol for blending with gasoline, allowing editing of Decree 19717 of February 20, 1931, which required importers of gasoline to blend 5% ethanol to fossil fuel.

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