Tag Archives: Sugarcane

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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Sweet hydrogen: how sugar could help satisfy the world’s energy needs

SugarThe Guardian – Hydrogen makes an extraordinarily efficient and clean fuel. Three times as energy-efficient as petrol, Nasa used it to power its space shuttles. It can be used to generate electricity and only produces water as a byproduct.

And yet, scientists are struggling to scale up hydrogen production. Ironically, given hydrogen’s green potential, the cheapest and most viable sources are hydrocarbon-based compounds such as natural gas. But liberating hydrogen from fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that outweigh any environmental advantages.

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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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Between sugars and genes

Fapes1234By Marcos de Oliveira
FAPESP – In light of the number of genetic, physiological and agronomic studies of sugarcane conducted in recent years, our older colleagues might say that the plant is being turned on its head. Scientists hope to gain a deeper understanding of sugarcane and its peculiarities with a view towards increasing the productivity of this plant of the grass family, brought to Brazil by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The ultimate goal is to produce more ethanol per hectare of land. These efforts include research aimed at making sugarcane better adapted to the so-called second generation of alcohol production, when enzymes will use the sugars recovered from crushed sugarcane, or bagasse, to form a kind of broth, and then produce more biofuel. For this reason, researchers from several Brazilian institutions are keeping one eye on basic research and the other on the future of the industrial process of ethanol production. The first scientific advance came in 1999 with the launching of the Sugarcane Genome Project, financed by FAPESP, and the most recent findings from that research confirm that sugarcane stalks and leaves have more sugars—basic substances for creating ethanol—in the hemicellulose fraction than in the cellulose fraction. These findings could change the course of second-generation ethanol production in the future.. >>Continue Reading<<

Source and Photo: FAPESP, October 2012
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Marine fertilizer

logoBy Yuri Vasconcellos
FAPESP – The solution for Brazil increasing its sugar and ethanol production by up to 50%, without needing to plant one more additional square meter of sugar cane may lie at the bottom of the sea. The amount that the country is likely to produce this year is 37 million tons of sugar and 23.6 billion liters of ethanol. Studies carried out by the Federal University of Lavras (Ufla), in Minas Gerais State, in partnership with TWB Mineração, whose headquarters are in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo, have revealed that the use of biofertilizer made from calcareous marine algae, called bioclastic granulate, is capable of generating a significant gain in productivity in sugar plantations because it raises the plant’s sugar concentration, or sucrose.

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Source and Photo: FAPESP, July 2012
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Beyond oil derivatives

2By Dinorah Heleno
Fapesp – Brazilian petrochemical company, Braskem, sixth in the world ranking in the sector, produces more than 16 million tons of intermediary chemicals and thermoplastic resins, like polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC annually. It leads the production of the so-called green polyethylene, made from sugar cane ethanol, which is the result of the research and technological development work of researchers from the polymer area. Just three years ago it was in 11th place. The rapid rise is mainly due to the purchase of Brazilian company Quattor, the polypropylene division of North American petrochemical company Sunoco, in Philadelphia in March 2010, which opened up operations outside Brazil, and four polymerization plants from Dow Chemical last year, two in the United States and two in Germany…. >> Continue Reading<<

Source and Photos: FAPESP, July 2012
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