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Brazil Assessing 12x Increase in Ethanol Production; 10% of Global Gasoline in 18 Years

Tierramérica. Brazil is evaluating the possibility of increasing its current ethanol production by a factor of 12 from current levels to substitute for 10% of gasoline consumed worldwide.

A government study group convened to study the possibilities and impacts of a sharp increase in fuel alcohol production from sugarcane concluded that Brazil could produce 205 billion liters (54 billion gallons US) of ethanol by 2025, or about 50% of the world volume.

By then, the global demand for gasoline will reach 1.7 trillion liters [449 billion gallons US] a year, with a 48% increase predicted over two decades. In addition to 10% of that volume, Brazil will have to produce ethanol for its growing internal market. The country already has 2.6 million vehicles that run on alcohol, with the addition of two-thirds of the new cars manufactured here, which total more than two million a year.

The group, led by the Interdisciplinary Group for Energy Planning of Campinas University, predicts a 40% increase in ethanol yield per hectare of sugarcane due to the incorporation of cellulosic ethanol production techniques to use sugarcane bagasse as a feedstock. The United States and Brazil have agreed to cooperate in developing this approach.



Just wondering... how much deforestation would this level of production require?


best not to wonder !


Yup, the forests are my concern too. Use biomass certainly, but not at the expense of virgin forest.

Max Reid


After sometime, they will start shifting focus from Ethanol to Butanol which has 95 % energy of gasolene compared to 75 % in Ethanol.

Also if they start using cellulose Ethanol, numbers will shoot up.

Dawn of American-Brazilian relationship.

daniel m martin

great,the more ethanol the more independence from polluting oil and gas,go BRAZIL,many more will follow!

Brazilian Ethanol

Brazil represents that world's marginal capacity for sugarcane. Only about 1% of the country's land is used for cane production currently, which is << than what it uses for corn, e.g. It is an efficient and low-cost producer of cane and can make UNSUBSIDIZED ethanol competitive with oil at ~$25/bbl.

Brazil is expanding soy production at a breakneck pace. If any crop should generate concern over deforestation, it is soy... not sugarcane. Cane production is growing in states like Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Parana, which are nowhere near the Amazon.

In addition, it should be noted that Brazil has not played much yet with transgenic varieties of cane. Further, through the Dedini process, it is just starting to tap the sugar content in bagasse and other field residues. It is expected that this process, which has been demo'd on a small scale already, will allow for a conservative expansion of 20%-30% of ethanol production from existing cane plantation.

The above might help explain why Soros, private equity shops, and the Japanese trading companies are finally sniffing all around the country for new agribiz investment opportunities.

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