Petrobras has earmarked some US$400 million for biofuels development research projects in the 2010-2014 Business Plan, according to Petrobras Biocombustível’s head of Technology Management, João Norberto Noschang Neto. Neto was speaking as a member of the panel on “Cellulosic Biofuels: has the future arrived?” during the Ethanol Summit in São Paulo, 7 June.
We are using a number of approaches in our research, including the reuse of glycerin (a byproduct of biodiesel production), rejuvenation of mature fields, and even cellulosic ethanol and aviation biofuel development.—João Norberto Noschang Neto
Neto added that projects were already under way to exploit microalgae for producing oil feedstock for biofuels and to develop biotechnology platforms. The company is also focusing on process sustainability and analyzing the biodiesel and ethanol life cycle throughout all production phases, he added.
He pointed out that one of the challenges facing the biofuels sector is vertical growth in productivity.
The company is also prioritizing the development of second-generation biofuels, including cellulosic ethanol produced from cane bagasse, with an expected increase in productivity of 40%.