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Petrobras to Begin Pilot of Cellulosic Ethanol from Bagasse by May

17 March 2007

Petrobras plans to install a pilot plant to test the production of cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse by as early as May in Rio de Janeiro, the company’s national headquarters.

Sugarcane is composed of roughly one-third sugar, one-third bagasse or the remaining sugarcane fiber after cane stalks are crushed, and one-third leaf cover. If Brazil could turn the leaves and bagasse into biofuel, the country could theoretically double its ethanol output.

Petrobras says that it should have an industrial-scale pilot plant up and running in Rio de Janeiro sometime in 2008 in order to test the technology.

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Most excellent. This would put the net energy balance way on the high side and be very profitable. For those worried about the food vs. fuel controversy, for every gallon produced from begasse, that is one gallon less from corn.

Good point SJC.

Let's hope that other countries will follow and produce cellulosic ethanol and butanol with forest + farm + industrial + domestic residues.

Currently, they burn the bagasse to obtain the heat to run the distillation equiptment. What will their new energy input be to fuel the stills?

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