Key enzyme for production of second-generation ethanol discovered in Brazilian Amazon

Researchers have discovered a novel enzyme (a β-glucosidase) in microorganisms living in the Brazilian Amazon that could boost efficiency of the sugarcane bagasse saccharification process, which accounts for up to 50% of the global costs of cellulosic ethanol production. The team isolated, characterized and reproduced the enzyme, proving it to... Read more →


NUS-led study: beltway to divert diesel trucks in São Paulo improved air quality and public health

A study by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of São Paulo revealed that a beltway constructed to divert heavy-duty diesel vehicles traffic in the Brazilian city of São Paulo improved air quality and public health in the city. The study was published in the... Read more →


Toyota unveiled a prototype hybrid flexible-fuel vehicle (Hybrid FFV) during an event Toyota held São Paulo, Brazil. Stakeholders including the state government, universities, and the sugarcane association (the Sugarcane Industry Union: UNICA) attended the event. The prototype is the combination of a flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) that can be powered by... Read more →


California ARB fines California port terminal operator $2.5M over air quality violations

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced a $2.5-million settlement with SSA Containers, Inc. and its affiliates. The Seattle-based company received a notice of violation for failing to repower, retire or retrofit its cargo-handling equipment at the ports of Long Beach and Oakland, and for failing to certify large spark... Read more →


BP and Copersucar to form a new ethanol joint venture in Brazil

BP Biofuels and Copersucar have agreed to form a joint venture to own and operate a major ethanol storage terminal in Brazil, better and flexibly connecting ethanol production with the country’s main fuels markets. Copersucar is the world’s leading sugar and ethanol trader, with the largest sugar and ethanol storage... Read more →


Pollutant emitted by biomass burning found to cause DNA damage and lung cell death; the role of retene

A new study by a team from Brazil, with colleagues in the US, has shown that particulate pollution biomass burning in the Amazon induced inflammation, oxidative stress and severe DNA damage in human lung cells. After 72 hours of exposure, more than 30% of the cultured cells are dead, the... Read more →


Study: expanding Brazilian sugarcane for ethanol could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 5.6%

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global CO2 emissions by as much as 5.6%, according to a new study by an international team led by researchers from the University of Illinois. This would be a massive undertaking, involving the conversion of hundreds of... Read more →


The Next Big Offshore Boom Is About To Happen in Brazil

by Irina Slav for Oilprice.com Say what you will about offshore oil and gas exploration, but it’s still alive and kicking—high production costs and all. The latest demonstration of the viability of deepwater projects, even in the post-2014 oil industry era, comes from none other than Brazil. On Wednesday, the... Read more →


Novozymes launches world’s first biological foam control for sugarcane ethanol; up to 20% cost reduction

Novozymes has launched Fermax, an enzyme protease that prevents foam development during the sugarcane ethanol fermentation process, while delivering improved control and replacing chemicals. For an average size plant, trialing partners also experienced a cost reduction of up to 20% when using Fermax, as compared with use of chemicals. Foam... Read more →


Brazil’s UNICA opposes EPA’s proposed RFS changes; says sugarcane ethanol can meet volume requirements

UNICA, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association, this week submitted formal comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the agency’s proposed reductions (relative to the volumes originally specified) to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume targets for 2014, 2015 and 2016—and especially the volume target for advanced biofuels. (Earlier... Read more →


Ceres and Raízen sign multi-year collaboration to scale-up sweet sorghum for ethanol in Brazil

Ceres, Inc, an agricultural biotechnology company, and Brazilian energy company Raízen S.A., signed a multi-year collaboration agreement to develop and produce sweet sorghum on an industrial scale. Raízen has conducted field and industrial evaluations of Ceres’ sweet sorghum hybrids since 2011. Sweet sorghum can extend the ethanol production season by... Read more →


Boeing, Embraer open joint aviation biofuel research center in Brazil

Boeing and Embraer have opened a joint sustainable aviation biofuel research center in a collaborative effort to further establish the aviation biofuel industry in Brazil. At the Boeing-Embraer Joint Research Center in the São José dos Campos Technology Park, the companies will coordinate and co-fund research with Brazilian universities and... Read more →


GranBio begins producing cellulosic ethanol in Brazil; very low carbon intensity of 6.98 gCO2e/MJ for California LCFS

GranBio, a 100% Brazilian industrial biotech company, has begun production at the first commercial-scale plant for second-generation (cellulosic) ethanol in the Southern Hemisphere. The Bioflex 1 unit, built in São Miguel dos Campos, Alagoas, has an initial production capacity of 82 million liters (21.6 million gallons US) of ethanol per... Read more →


Study finds São Paulo switch from ethanol to gasoline dropped local ozone levels by 20%, increased CO and nitric oxide concentrations

A study by a pair of researchers at Northwestern University found that when fuel prices drove residents of São Paulo, Brazil, to switch from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20%. At the same time, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up.... Read more →


Ryder’s natural gas fleet surpasses 20 million miles

Ryder System, Inc., a leader in commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, reports that its fleet of over 500 natural gas vehicles has surpassed 20 million miles (32 million km). The fleet consists of liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas tractors serving more than 40 customer operations in... Read more →


Raízen breaks ground on Iogen cellulosic ethanol facility in Brazil

Iogen Corporation announced that Brazilian ethanol giant Raízen Energia Participações S/A has started construction of a commercial biomass-to-ethanol facility using Iogen Energy’s advanced cellulosic biofuel technology. (Iogen Energy is a joint venture between Raízen and Iogen Corporation. Earlier post.) The $100-million plant, to be located adjacent to Raízen’s Costa Pinto... Read more →


An overview of the direct sugar to hydrocarbon (DSHC) process for the production of renewable jet fuel. Source: Amyris. Click to enlarge. Renewable fuels and chemicals company Amyris, Inc. and GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes S.A., the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in Latin America, signed a memorandum of understanding that... Read more →


Novozymes and Raízen to collaborate on cellulosic ethanol in Brazil

Novozymes has entered into a collaboration agreement with Brazil’s largest sugarcane crusher, Raízen Energia S/A (the $12-billion joint venture between Shell and Cosan founded in 2011). (Earlier post.) As part of the agreement, Novozymes will supply enzyme technology to Raízen’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Brazil, scheduled to be... Read more →


Anglo-Brazilian JV to launch first commercial bagasse cellulosic ethanol production plant in Brazil

UK-based TMO Renewables (TMO) and Usina Santa Maria Ltda have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture to build the first commercial production plant in Brazil to convert sugar cane waste (bagasse) to cellulosic bioethanol. TMO signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Usina Santa Maria Ltda... Read more →


SG Biofuels signs deals in Brazil to develop Jatropha as an alternative energy crop

SGB, Inc. (SG Biofuels) has signed agreements in Brazil with Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), the country’s leading agricultural research institution, and with Fiagril, one of the country’s leading biodiesel refiners, to advance the development of Jatropha as a next-generation energy crop. SGB’s strategic research partnership with Embrapa will combine... Read more →


Video: GM’s Gary Smyth on modeling and simulation as core to powertrain innovation

In a video published by Reaction Design, Gary Smyth, executive director of GM’s Science Labs, discusses the successes GM has made and continues to make in developing advanced powertrain systems and vehicles, in large part due to increasing reliance on combustion modeling and simulation. Smyth’s specific observations on the importance... Read more →


Comparisons of life-cycle emissions from LUC phase for (a) sugar cane ethanol and (b) soybean biodiesel. Credit: ACS, Tsao et al. Click to enlarge. When including Land Use Change (LUC) factors, Brazilian sugar cane ethanol and soybean biodiesel have much larger life-cycle emissions than conventional gasoline and biodiesel for six... Read more →


GraalBio will use the Chemtex PROESA cellulosic ethanol process. Source: Chemtex. Click to enlarge. GraalBio, a biotechnology company of the Graal Group, is planning to build a commercial plant for the production of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil. The company will also install an agricultural station to develop new cane varieties... Read more →


Number of cars (world and US), amount of gasoline consumed, amount of ethanol equivalent required for a neat ethanol fleet, ethanol and electricity to power hybrid fleet, and sugar cane area for hybrid fleet. Credit: ACS, Pacca and Moreira. Click to enlarge. If sugar cane is used as the feedstock... Read more →


Nissan launches expanded strategy for Brazil with new $1.4B manufacturing plant; Renault boosting production capacity there by 100,000 units

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. plans to invest 2.6 billion BRL (US$1.4 billion) to construct a new manufacturing facility in Resende in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro and develop, industrialize and launch new products. The Brazilian factory, scheduled to begin production in the first half of 2014, will have... Read more →


BP expanding Brazilian sugarcane ethanol business

BP is expanding its business in Brazil that produces ethanol from sugarcane. The company is increasing its share in Brazilian biofuel company Tropical BioEnergia S.A. to 100%, acquiring the remaining 50% of the company from the joint venture partners for about US$71 million. BP is also taking an additional share... Read more →


Petrobras to invest US$2.5 billion in increasing biodiesel and ethanol production through 2015

Brazil’s Petrobras, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Petrobras Biocombustível, will invest US$2.5 billion in increasing biodiesel and ethanol production between 2011 and 2015. This amount is part of $4.1 billion earmarked for the biofuels business, which also foresees $1.3 billion for ethanol logistics and $300 million for research in this segment.... Read more →


LS9 collaborating with MAN Latin America to test UltraClean renewable diesel in Brazil

LS9, Inc., a synthetic biology company producing renewable fuels and chemicals directly by microbes, has begun a collaboration with MAN Latin America, a leading Brazilian engineering and vehicles manufacturing company, to test LS9’s renewable diesel in both stationary engines and operational fleet vehicles in Brazil. The project will include performance,... Read more →


Shell and Cosan launch their multi-billion dollar sugarcane ethanol JV Raízen

Shell and Cosan launched Raízen, their multi-billion dollar joint venture to produce ethanol made from sugar cane. (Earlier post.) The major retail and commercial fuels company will operate in Brazil. Raízen will produce and sell more than 2 billion liters (528 million gallons US) of sugarcane ethanol per year. Raízen... Read more →


Brazil and US to deepen cooperation on energy; aviation biofuels

Among the statements and agreements emerging from President Obama’s official visit to Brazil and meeting with President Dilma Rousseff were overall support for the US supporting “the rise of Brazil as a global power” as well as an agreement to launch a Strategic Energy Dialogue between the two countries. By... Read more →


BP to acquire majority control of Brazilian ethanol and sugar producer for $680M

BP has agreed to acquire majority control of the Brazilian ethanol and sugar producer Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA). When CNAA’s assets are fully developed, this is expected to increase BP’s overall Brazilian production capacity to around 1.4 billion liters of ethanol equivalent per year (370 million gallons... Read more →


Cosan and Shell introduce Raízen, their $12B Brazilian ethanol JV

Royal Dutch Shell and Cosan SA have introduced Raízen, their Brazilian ethanol joint venture. The new company will be one of the top five companies in the country in revenues, with estimated market value of US$12 billion and approximately 40,000 employees. (Earlier post.) Raízen will be responsible for the production... Read more →


Renewable energy targets and energy priority areas in the BRIMCS countries (not listed in order of importance or emphasis). Data: Kempener et al. Click to enlarge. A team of Harvard Kennedy School researchers has found that the governments of six key developing countries—Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa,... Read more →


TAM Airlines, Curcas and Brasil Ecodiesel partnering to evaluate the production of renewable jet fuel in Brazil; support from Airbus and BP Air

Brazil’s largest airline, TAM Airlines; Curcas Diesel Brasil, a company promoting Jatropha curcas as the key feedstock for the global biodiesel industry; and Brasil Ecodiesel, the country’ largest biodiesel producer, will collaborate to conduct feasibility studies to implement an integrated project for the sustainable production of renewable jet fuel in... Read more →


Turnover of the US fleet under the three models of penetration. The circles represent the year in which new vehicle sales equal 100% alternative powertrains/fuel. Source: Belzowski and McManus. Click to enlarge. The US and China—as well as Western Europe, Japan and Brazil—could turnover more than 90% of their vehicle... Read more →


The KLE process. Click to enlarge. Petrobras, via Petrobras America, entered into a Joint Development Agreement with KL Energy Corporation (KLE) to optimize KLE’s proprietary cellulosic ethanol process technology for sugarcane bagasse feedstock. As part of this agreement, Petrobras will provide $11 million to adapt KLE’s demonstration facility to the... Read more →


Integrating cellulosic ethanol production via DHR. Source: Dedini. Click to enlarge. Dedini S/A Indústrias de Base and Novozymes A/S signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aiming at continuing to develop a technological route to produce cellulosic ethanol in Brazil. The objective of this partnership is to develop a process using... Read more →


Petrobras Partners with BIOeCON on BiCHEM Process for Cellulosic Biofuels and Chemicals

Brazil’s Petrobras will partner with BIOeCON, a Dutch company, on the development of a new process for enhanced conversion of lignocellulosic biomass such as sugarcane bagasse into chemicals that can be used to produce green plastics, or further transformed into next-generation advanced biofuels. The new technology, called BiCHEM (Biomass Chemical... Read more →


Petrobras and São Martinho Partner in Brazilian Ethanol Sector, Form New JV

Petrobras, through its Petrobras Biocombustível subsidiary, has formed a strategic partnership with Grupo São Martinho S.A., one of the largest sugar and energy groups in Brazil, to increase ethanol production in Midwestern Brazil, in the State of Goiás. The partners will form a new joint venture company—Nova Fronteira Bioenergia S.A.—which... Read more →


Bayer CropScience and Brazil’s CTC to Partner On Research to Increase Sugar Content of Sugarcane for Biofuels

Bayer CropScience and the CTC—Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, the Center for Sugarcane Technology, São Paulo, Brazil—intend to enter into a broad cooperation on the research and development of biotech sugarcane varieties. The main goal is to combine the expertise of both partners to develop varieties with higher sugar content, aiming... Read more →


Launch ceremony for the first Promef Suezmax tanker. Source: Petrobras. Click to enlarge. Brazil’s Petrobras set a new monthly oil production record in April. The month’s average topped-out at 2,032,620 barrels per day, exceeding the previous monthly record, of 2,003,940 barrels per day, set in September 2009, by 29,000 barrels.... Read more →


Petrobras Launches Two Palm Oil Projects; Biodiesel in State of Pará, Renewable Diesel with Galp in Portugal

Brazil’s Petrobras is launching two projects to produce biofuels from palm oil (dendê) in Tomé-Açu (state of Pará): a Petrobras-owned biodiesel plant (the Biodiesel Pará project), and a project to produce renewable diesel in partnership with Portuguese outfit Galp Energia (the Belém project) (earlier post). The feedstock supply strategy foresees... Read more →


Petrobras to Take 45.7% Stake in 4th Largest Sugarcane Processor in Brazil for Biofuels and Bioenergy

Petrobras and Tereos Participações Ltda. (Tereos International) have formed a strategic partnership to invest in Açúcar Guarani S.A. (Guarani), a Tereos group subsidiary, aiming to accelerate its growth in the Brazilian ethanol, sugar and bioenergy industry. Additionally, investments will be increased in technology and in research and development programs for... Read more →


Brazil’s 10-millionth flex-fuel vehicle was built on 4 March, according to the country’s National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea). The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) commented that this milestone should encourage automakers to invest more in the global dissemination of what has been accomplished in Brazil, as well as in... Read more →


Shell and Cosan Intend to Form $12B JV in Brazil To Be One of the World’s Largest Ethanol Producers; Shell Would Contribute Interests in Iogen and Codexis

Shell International Petroleum Company Limited and Cosan S.A. have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU), with the intention to form a circa $12 billion joint venture (JV) in Brazil for the production of ethanol, sugar and power, and the supply, distribution and retail of transportation fuels. Cosan is the... Read more →


Bunge expects global sugar demand expected to grow at more than 2% per annum, and ethanol demand to increase both within Brazil and for the export market. Source: Bunge. Click to enlarge. US-based global agribusiness company Bunge Limited has entered into an agreement to become the 100% owner of Usina... Read more →


Novozymes in Two New Research Partnerships in Brazil; Biogas from Bagasse and Polypropylene from Sugarcane

Novozymes, an international enzymes and microorganisms company, has entered two new research partnerships in Brazil. A partnership with Cetrel, the largest provider of environmental solutions for the manufacturing industry in Latin America, is focused on the production of biogas from sugarcane bagasse using enzymes. The biogas can be used to... Read more →


Amyris to Partner with Three Sugar and Ethanol Producers in Brazil for Manufacture of Renewable Chemicals and Fuels

Amyris Brasil, a wholly owned subsidiary of synthetic biology company Amyris Biotechnologies, Inc. has entered into letter of intent agreements with three sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil—Bunge Limited, Cosan and Açúcar Guarani with the purpose of partnering for the production of high value renewable specialty chemicals and fuels. These... Read more →


Brazil to Increase Mandatory Biodiesel Blend to 5% in 2010; Mandatory Emissions Testing for Vehicles

Effective January 2010, Brazilian diesel fuel vehicles will be required to run on a 5% biodiesel blend, up from 4% at present. The announcement was made last Friday by president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and is expected to raise biodiesel production levels to 2.4 billion liters (634 million gallons)... Read more →


The Electric Daily in Brazil. Click to enlarge. Iveco has presented a prototype of its new Electric Daily in Brazil, destined to be the first zero emission light commercial vehicle produced in Latin America. The project builds on Iveco’s long-running research and development of electric propulsion, which started with the... Read more →