Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘Brazil’ tag

Brazil: The Alternative Energy Powerhouse

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My hope is that the people and businesses investing in Brazil will do so in a way that is beneficial not only to them, but also, more importantly, to the Brazilian people and ecosystems.

An important point to consider is the far lower energy use per capita in Brazil. Though the proportion of people in the middle class or above has grown in the last decade, there are still many in poverty. In addition to all the other associated ills, this poverty means less energy use per person.

Brazil is indeed doing great work as one of the world’s largest, if not the largest, energy-independent economies. I have not seen them dedicating efforts toward smart grid technology, nor are they encouraging electric vehicles, though with an increasingly equitable mix between domestic oil and natural gas, sugarcane ethanol, and biomass electricity generation, such substantial water and other natural resources, all combined with a social environment that has, in my estimation, grown markedly more secure and diversely participatory, Brazil is indeed poised to be one of the most important countries of the 21st Century.

Tal vez é certo que Deus é BrasileirA.

Brazil: The Alternative Energy Powerhouse provides major business opportunities. How can you meet the challenge?

Contributing author: Mark McHugh, Managing Partner Bauhaus CP, Brazil

As home to world’s last major tropical rainforest, one of the largest renewable reserves of fresh water, the planet’s most diverse stock of biodiversity, the best energy matrix of any of the top economies and the most successful industrial-scale production of bio-fuels, Brazil stands out in the environmental arena. And now with a booming economy and secure governement regulatory environment in Renewable Energy, how indeed can you meet this enormous chalenge?

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

July 26th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Brazil: The Bossa Nova of Biofuels

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The transition to the bioeconomy is a fascinating topic. At a conference I helped to organize in St. Louis in 2008, the discussion was around refineries that use biomass as a feedstock, producing the wide range of products, including fuel, fiber, pharmaceuticals, and others currently delivered from petroleum refineries. It is unclear if or when such a transition will occur, but with volatile oil prices and the current situation in the Gulf of Mexico, it may be more appealing now than ever.

A new wave of investment will transform sugars and cellulosic carbohydrates into hydrocarbon fuels

By Biofuels Digest columnist Will Thurmond

Shell, BP, Bunge, LS9, Dow and Amyris are collectively investing more than $20 billion into advanced, sustainable biofuels in Brazil. This new relationship between Brazilian, US and EU public and private industries is kicking off a new era in international biofuels investment.


US And The EU Dance With Brazil

Another wave of next- generation renewable drop-in fuel companies Amyris, LS9, Gevo and Dupont are also investing in and partnering with Brazil’s sugarcane fermentation biorefineries. Why? Because their emerging technologies from cellulosic microbes (yeast, algae, fungus and bacteria) can use the same ethanol fermentation facilities in the US corn belt and in Brazil’s sugarcane belt to produce bio-crude, green diesel, petrol and biojet.


Integrated Biorefineries In Sight

The future benefits of these integrated cellulosic biorefineries, especially in Brazil, will demonstrate leadership, proof of concept, and much-needed economic certainty that is challenged by US and EU cellulosic biofuels economics, mandates and markets today. This will benefit the other big emerging markets of China and India as the dance progresses. Long before the Olympics arrive in Rio in 2017,  Brazil’s leadership in sustainable biofuels, coupled with advanced technologies from US and EU industry partners, will illuminate evolutionary pathways in achieving successfully integrated, diversified, biorefineries.  In particular, India, the world’s second
largest sugar producer, and the world’s most populated nation, is most likely to benefit from this progress along with China and other key emerging market nations interested in attracting increased investment and emerging technologies for sustainable growth.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

May 26th, 2010 at 11:49 am

The Potential for Celluloisc Ethanol in Brazil

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Jaime Finguerut, director of CTC, the private research center that is without a doubt the most advanced of its kind in the world, discusses the potential impacts of and probable time frame for the arrival of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil.

He explains that the impacts of their cellulosic ethanol production, just starting with the cellulose left over from sugarcane refining, have the same potential as the vast oil reserves recently found off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. He believes the first commercial refinery will be producing as soon as 2012.

This interview is conducted amidst the backdrop of the U.S. reducing its own cellulosic requirements from 100 million gallons to just 6.5 million gallons. The government made the reduction in recognition that the ability to produce ethanol from biomass is simply not ready for market.

Many, such as Dr. Finguerut and others in the U.S. and Brazil, are optimistic that the technology is right around the corner. They may be correct. I’ve also often wondered if the engineers working on hydrogen technologies in the 1970’s would also have said that the technology is close to being ready, right around the corner.

I’m hopeful that plant cellulose and other abundant materials will soon be efficiently convertable to forms of energy usable for transportation fuels and electricity. In the meantime, rather than pinning our hopes on as of yet impractical energy sources, we should work diligently to use less energy, giving these technologies time so they can provide power for generations to come.

Jaime Finguerut


O etanol de 2a.geração é o pré-sal da cana-de-açúcar

(2nd generation ethanol is the pre-sal of sugarcane)

(Pre-sal is the name commonly used for the vast oil reserves recently located off their Southeastern coast. Some Brazilians believe they’ve found Saudi Arabia off the coast of Rio. They may be correct, and if, in the next 10 years, as experts believe, technology can be developed to extract the oil  from 5000 m below the surface of the ocean, through perhaps 1000 m of rock salt, it will have a profound effect on oil supply in general and the Brazilian economy in particular. Dr. Finguerute is comparing cellulosic ethanol with this petroleum. He is not a man prone to hyperbole, so this is very interesting.)

O Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, conhecido no País pela sua sigla CTC, com sede em Piracicaba, interior paulista, pretende ter em funcionamento, em 2012, sua usina de produção de etanol de 2ª.geração, que tem o mesmo valor para a cana-de-açúcar, que o pré-sal para o petróleo no Brasil, disse o gerente de Desenvolvimento Estratégico Industrial do CTC, Jaime Finguerut, em entrevista exclusiva ao INFOENERGIA. O cientista brasileiro mostra muita confiança e satisfação com o desenvolvimento do etanol de 2ª.geração, chegando a afirmar que com o conhecimento que se tem da produção do etanol a partir da cana-de-açúcar, nosso produto será de melhor qualidade, “sem dúvida alguma”.

A seguir a entrevista com Jaime Finguerut.

Como está o desenvolvimento no País do etanol de 2ª. geração?

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

May 20th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Bill Maher and George Will spar over oil and Brazil

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“Brazil got off oil in the last 30 years.”

Bill Maher on Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 in an interview on ABC News’ ‘This Week’

Maher was probably thinking about Brazil’s 2005 declaration if energy independence. This independence was created in part by sugarcane ethanol and hydroelectric, but also because of large domestic reserves of oil and natural gas.

The graph below shows Brazil’s use of ethanol and gasoline in tons of petroleum equivalent.

Source: Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy (https://www.ben.epe.gov.br/BENSeriesCompletas.aspx)

A potential ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico led to a spirited debate on U.S. energy policy on ABC News’ This Week.

Liberal commentator Bill Maher lamented the fact that both major political parties, including President Barack Obama, have supported offshore oil drilling in recent years instead of being more aggressive about renewable energy.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

May 3rd, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Netspace set to acquire Brazil’s Integrated Biodiesel Industries

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Long a leader in ethanol production, companies in Brazil have been ramping up efforts in the biodiesel realm, with soy, palm, and other feedstocks.

In Brazil, Netspace International Holdings (NSIH.PK), a biodiesel consolidation company aimed at creating operational efficiencies through scale, announced that it has signed an LOI to acquire Integrated Biodiesel Industries of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Integrated Biodiesel Industries has exclusive world rights to a proprietary modular refining technology. The two companies have commenced due diligence with a goal of closing the transaction by July.  90 days. The two companies have initiated a process of due diligence and will be holding meetings to complete the acquisition over the next 90 days. In January, NSIH completed the acquisition of Alternative Fuels Americas, which will be the subsidiary acquiring IBI.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 29th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Proposed Hydroelectric Facility in Brazil on Native Lands

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Power and the Xingu

A huge Amazon hydropower project shows how hard it is to balance the demands of the environment and of a growing and prospering country

Apr 22nd 2010 | RIO DE JANEIRO | From The Economist print edition

PROTESTERS in paint and headdresses in Brasília, warring tribes of lawyers and a mountain of pig dung: yet another giant Brazilian public-works contract was up for grabs, and the lobbies were restless. After the courts struck down an avalanche of eleventh-hour injunctions, late on April 20th a consortium of contractors won the right to build Belo Monte, a huge hydroelectric power station to be raised on the Xingu river in the eastern Amazon basin.
That challenge—developing the wilds and having them too—is in many ways the riddle of modern Brazil. The rest of the developing world is watching closely to see whether it can be solved.
Instead of building a great wall across the Xingu to create a massive reservoir, Belo Monte is designed as a run-of-river dam, a technique that harnesses the natural flow of the river to drive the turbines.

Written by Jason

April 23rd, 2010 at 11:29 am

Oil policy in Brazil: Raining on Rio’s parade

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Why The Economist would choose this picture for this article is beyond me. It’s definitely not relevant, and between the picture and the quote from President Lula chosen to end the first paragraph, it isn’t an accurate or flattering depiction of Brazilians.

As for the rest of the content of the article, it seems a bit premature, and a matter best settled by Brazilians. Petrobras estimates it will take as much as 7 more years before they begin to see any revenues from the extremely difficult to reach oil, during which time this decision will certainly be revisited.

Oil policy in Brazil

Raining on Rio’s parade

An Olympic city faces a sudden loss of oil revenue

Apr 8th 2010 | RIO DE JANEIRO | From The Economist print edition

 Bug-eyed at the prospect of losing their oil fix

THEIR new-found hoard of oil still lies 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) beneath the Atlantic Ocean, but the signs are that it has already gone to Brazilian officialdom’s head. No sooner had Petrobras, the national oil company, announced the discovery of a gigantic cache of crude oil buried beneath a thick layer of salt below the ocean floor than every vested interest in the country had a plan to spend the windfall. Brazil’s 27 governors and its 5,600 mayors are all looking to garnish their budgets. Civic groups want their cut of royalties to fight poverty, scientists to fight climate change and students to improve education. “Pre-salt oil is like a pretty woman on a dance floor full of men,” Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil’s president, put it bluntly. “Everybody wants a go.”

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 9th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

U.S. and Brazil Reach Agreement on Cotton Dispute

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There are two important relationships that I see between this decision and biofuels:

1. Brazil’s push for the U.S. to increase trade liberalization by reducing subsidies to cotton growers is similar to their push for the U.S. to lower its tariffs on imported ethanol. Brazil recently eliminated their own tariff on ethanol, and made it clear this was in part an effort to force us to do the same.

2. If people claim that diverting land from food to fuel is causing deforestation and driving up food prices (known as indirect land use changes, or ILUCs), why don’t we hear the same complaints about using agricultural land for fiber? The complaints may be valid, but it’s interesting that they aren’t applied to cotton. Cotton is certainly important, I’m wearing clothes right now, but transportation fuel is also important, so why the double standard?

The intellectual property rights discussed later in the article are another interesting matter, but that’s a whole other story.

Published: April 6, 2010
WASHINGTON — The United States and Brazil have reached an agreement aimed at settling a long-standing trade dispute over American subsidies to cotton growers, officials in both countries said Tuesday.

The announcement came one day before Brazil was to begin imposing up to $830 million in sanctions with authorization from the World Trade Organization. The trade body had ruled last August that American subsidies to cotton growers had violated global trade rules.


Brazil had threatened, for example, to stop charging its farmers technology fees for seeds developed by American biotechnology companies and to break American pharmaceutical patents before their scheduled expiration. Those retaliatory actions would have cost American businesses up to $239 million.

“Traditionally, retaliation in trade has been the preserve of the largest developed countries, which have market power,” said Robert Z. Lawrence, a professor of international trade and finance at the Harvard Kennedy School. “But this mechanism — suspending intellectual property protection — gives smaller, developing countries a way to enforce their rights under trade rules.”

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 6th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Brazil Sugar Output Will Rise 19 Percent to Record, Unica Says

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March 31, 2010, 9:52 AM EDT

By Lucia Kassai

March 31 (Bloomberg) — Sugar output in Brazil’s Center South, the world’s largest producing region, will rise 19 percent to a record in the coming season as drier weather boosts yields and new mills come online.

Mills in the region, which makes 90 percent of Brazil’s sugar, will produce 34.1 million metric tons of the sweetener in the crop year starting tomorrow, up from 28.6 million a year earlier, Unica said in a report distributed today in Sao Paulo. Sugar-cane output will increase 10 percent to 595.9 million tons, Unica said.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

April 4th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Brazil seen supplying 10% of global ethanol by 2025

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Friday, March 26, 2010 3:51 AM

(Source: Investnews; Sao Paulo)trackingSAO PAULO, 3/26/10 – Brazil’s sugar cane ethanol might replace between 5% to 10% of the gasoline consumed worldwide by 2025, said Luis Cortez, a professor at the Agricultural Engineering Faculty of Unicamp university. According to Cortez, renewable sources already supply 46% of Brazil’s energy demand (3.5 times more than the global percentage of 13%) and sugar cane accounts for 15% of it. Ethanol production, which has risen from the need to find alternative energy sources after the 1970’s oil crisis, is about to enter a growth cycle, the expert added.

The professor pointed out that despite ethanol’s huge potential, only 0.4% (3.4 million hectares) of Brazilian land is used for sugar cane planting against 22 million hectares used for soybean and 200 million hectares for pastures.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 30th, 2010 at 4:19 pm