Brazil Sets Record for Ethanol Consumption

unicaBrazil hit a record high in ethanol consumption in July. The country’s ethanol industry group, the Union of Sugar Cane Industry Association (UNICA), says Brazilians used 1.55 billion liters, or about 400 million gallons, breaking a previous record of 1.51 billion liters in December 2009.

The national demand for light fuels increased 3.4% compared with July 2014 and 2.75% as compared to the previous month (June / 2015). Meanwhile, C gasoline consumption increased only 2.3% between June and July 2015.

According to UNICA Technical Director, Antonio de Padua Rodrigues, this continued expansion of biofuel consumption reflects the competitive price of the renewable front of its fossil competitor, gasoline.

“In many states, the price parity between hydrous ethanol and gasoline follows at levels lower than the technical ratio of 70% of vehicle efficiency. I draw attention to São Paulo, where the parity stood at around 62% and Mato Grosso with 60%, “noted Rodrigues.

New Ethanol Production, Corn Oil Comes to Market

Pacific Ethanol has begun commercial production of corn oil utilizing Valicor’s corn oil recovery system at its Columbia ethanol plant located in Boardman, Oregon. With the completion of this 2-year initiative, all four of the western Pacific Ethanol plants are now producing corn oil.

Neil Koehler, the company’s president and CEO, said of the milestone, “With the production of distillers corn oil at our Columbia plant, all eight of our ethanol facilities separate corn oil for sale into high-value markets. Corn oil production has been a major milestone for the company, and one that we expect to provide significant benefits as it broadens our co-product mix, further diversifies our revenue streams and enhances operating income.”

Cellulosic sugars, following extraction from bagasse at Iogen's Raizen Costa Pinto Plant (Brazil) where cellulosic ethanol is not being produced. Photo Credit:  novocana.com

Cellulosic sugars, following extraction from bagasse at Iogen’s Raizen Costa Pinto Plant (Brazil) where cellulosic ethanol is now being produced. Photo Credit: novocana.com.

Moving to the Midwest, the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant was fully commissioned. The 65 MMGy facility, located in Spiritwood, North Dakota, is the first corn-ethanol plant to be built in the U.S. in more than five years. The plant is unique in that the process steam is purchased from Great River Energy’s nearby Spiritwood Station and is used to help produce electricity.

Across the pond (and an ocean) in Brazil, Iogen Energy’s cellulosic ethanol plant is now up and running at the Raízen`s newly expanded Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was on hand for a celebration and noted, “the production of second generation ethanol from sugarcane bagasse is the realization of a dream for the country. The collaboration between the State and Raízen is part of the government’s commitment to ethanol production as a strategic measure for economic development.”

UNICA Joins Global Renewable Fuels Alliance

global-rfaThe Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) with its president Elizabeth Farin has become the newest member of the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).

“Brazil is truly a trailblazer in the global biofuels industry, not only as one of the world’s largest producers of biofuels, but one of the first,” said Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the GRFA. “As the largest ethanol producer in Brazil, we are honoured to have UNICA join our ranks to represent the industry on the world stage.”

UNICA is the largest organization in Brazil representing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity producers. UNICA members represent more than 50% of all ethanol produced in Brazil and 60% of overall sugar production.

“As a global leader in ethanol production, UNICA is proud to be a member of the GRFA,” said Ms. Farina. “We look forward to working with the other members of over 44 biofuel producing countries to collectively promote the expanded use of renewable fuels throughout the world and advocate for sound public policy and responsible research.”

The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting biofuel friendly policies internationally. Alliance members now represent over 90% of the global biofuels production from 45 countries.

Brazilian Tariff on Imported Ethanol Increases

The Brazilian government this week increased the tariff on imported ethanol from 9.25 percent to 11.75 percent, effective immediately.

unicaThe Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) issued a statement regarding the changes to Brazil’s tax policy signed into law by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Monday.

Ethanol produced in Brazil is subject to a range of federal taxes with revenue allocated to social security, including the social participation program (PIS) and social security financing contribution (COFINS) on domestic production. Today’s action by President Rousseff will level the playing field between Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and imported biofuels by subjecting foreign renewable fuels to comparable taxation and should not be confused with an importation tariff.

It is important to note the PIS and COFINS paid on ethanol imports will turn into a credit for the importer, which may then be used to pay other tax debts or be reimbursed by the Brazilian government, having the effect of anticipated taxes that would already be collected.

“Brazilian sugarcane producers have long been strong advocates of removing trade barriers and creating tax parity for renewable fuels,” said Elizabeth Farina, UNICA President. “Working together, the United States and Brazil have built a thriving global biofuels trade benefiting both countries, and we look forward to continued progress toward shared environmental and economic goals.”

Brazil Ethanol Group Moves Summit Dates

unica1A group representing sugarcane ethanol producers in Brazil is rescheduling its biennial meeting. The Union of Sugar Cane Industry Association (UNICA) has moved its Ethanol Summit 2015 to July 6-7, 2015 at the Golden Hall of World Trade Center to accomodate Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who will be in Washington, D.C., on the original dates at the end of June.

The meeting brings together businessmen from various levels of government authorities, researchers, investors, suppliers and academics in Brazil and abroad.They are expected about 1,500 participants to follow nearly a hundred lectures, presentations, discussions and debates that will take place in large plenary sessions, thematic panels and opening and closing ceremonies as well as parallel events.

“This is a significant year for the sugarcane industry. Key decisions and very important measures that can contribute to a better future of agribusiness, are underway, both in Brazil and on the world stage, increasing the importance of the Summit as the main forum for discussions on the most relevant topics for the energies and products renewable coming from sugarcane “said the president of UNICA, Elizabeth Farina.

Registration for the event opens in the coming days.

Platts Pre-Report Survey of Sugarcane Crush

In preparation for the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA)’s bi-monthly harvest data, Platts survey has announced that sugarcane crush volumes in the Key Center-South region of Brazil in the first half of April are expected to total 13.10 million mt with a focus on ethanol production. The wider range of analysts’ advance expectations for cane crush spanned from 10.2 million mt to 18.3 million mt.

UNICA sugar-ethanol plantAnalysts expect sugar mills to have focused on ethanol production, with ethanol representing 68.57 percent of the cane crush in the April 1- 15 period, with sugar at 31.43 percent. Cane yield measured by Total Recoverable Sugar (or ATR in Portuguese) was estimated by Platts sugar analysis and forecasting unit Kingsman* at 105.5 kg/mt.

Analysts anticipate the following: sugar production of 399,000 mt, total ethanol output of 637,000 liters, including 450,000 liters of hydrous and 187,000 liter of anhydrous ethanol. The strong focus on hydrous ethanol production is attributed to higher electricity prices from cogeneration, as well as more competitive prices at the pumps, which boosted demand.

Since the February reinstatement of Brazil’s Cide tax on gasoline, hydrous ethanol consumption has boomed, increasing its share of total automotive fuel demand in Brazil to 29 percent, the highest since February 2011, according to data from the Brazilian Petroleum Agency.

CARB Holds LCFS Workshop Update

carb-14-2The California Air Resources Board (ARB) held a public workshop on Friday to discuss updates to the recently modified Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (CA-GREET 2.0) Model under the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). Stakeholder input was received at the workshop on the new model which made some changes to the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) component.

RFA-logo-13Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Vice President Geoff Cooper said that while they are pleased that CARB made some updates to the CA-GREET model that were recommended by stakeholders, certain elements remain problematic, such as the model’s handling of emissions related to denaturant. “Our larger concern, however, continues to be CARB’s gross overestimation of indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions,” said Cooper. “While CARB is proposing to lower ILUC emissions somewhat, the Agency’s newest estimates are still far above the estimates coming from the rest of the scientific community. Further, CARB continues to rely on speculative and hypothetical scenarios to derive ILUC penalties, rather than using real-world land use data to inform the program. Empirical data from the past 10 years clearly show that farmers have responded to higher crop prices by using existing cropland more efficiently, not by converting non-agricultural lands to cropland. We will continue to encourage CARB to consider the most recent data and best available science on ILUC.”

unica1On the other hand, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) is pleased with the ILUC changes but has other concerns. “CARB’s revision of indirect land-use change (ILUC) modeling resulted in reduced penalties for Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and the lowest overall number in the LCFS, confirming it as the lowest-carbon biofuel available at commercial scale today,” said UNICA’s North American Representative Leticia Phillips.

However, Phillips says the environmental benefits of sugarcane ethanol in the LCFS would be even more significant if CARB included the emissions benefits of electricity co-generation in sugarcane mills using leftover plant material. “We are disappointed CARB has chosen to apply a U.S.-style average electricity mix to Brazil rather than crediting sugarcane biofuel producers for this marginal displacement of fossil energy.”

CARB will be considering re-adoption of the California LCFS at its July 2015 hearing,

Ethanol Featured on Bobby Likis Car Clinic

likis-smallSome straight talk this weekend on ethanol on the syndicated car-talk program “Bobby Likis Car Clinic.” Judd Hulting of Patriot Renewable Fuels talked with Bobby about the operations, products and statistics of Patriot’s ten-year old, ethanol plant located near the Quad Cities.

nec14-patriot-juddHulting was able to tout the benefits of ethanol, including the growing worldwide export market for American-made ethanol and distillers grain. Likis was already a fan of ethanol and pointed out that while some Americans are worried about moving up to a 15 percent ethanol blend (E15), Brazil has just moved up to E27 as the baseline for gasoline in the South American country.

You can listen to the conversation between Hulting and Likis here.

Collaboration to Scale-Up Sweet Sorghum for Ethanol

CeresLogoSmooth Ceres, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company, and Brazilian energy company Raízen S.A., today announced the signing of a multi-year collaboration agreement to develop and produce sweet sorghum on an industrial scale.

Under the collaboration, the companies will each contribute in-kind services and resources and share in the revenue from the ethanol produced from Ceres’ sweet sorghum above certain levels. This season, Raízen has planted Ceres’ sweet sorghum evaluation in a single location and plans to expand to multiple mills in the seasons to come.

Sweet sorghum can be grown to complement existing feedstock supplies and extend the operating season of Brazilian sugarcane-to-ethanol mills. In addition to sweet sorghum, Ceres markets high biomass sorghum to mills and other agri-industrial facilities for use in generating electricity, heat and steam in Brazil. In the U.S., Ceres is marketing improved forage sorghum hybrids to dairies and livestock producers.

Boeing, Embraer Open Biofuel Research Center

boeing1A new research center will look to establish the aviation biofuels industry in Brazil. Aviation manufacturers Boeing and Embraer opened a joint sustainable aviation biofuel research center in the South American country.

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 other institutions. The research will focus on technologies that address gaps in creating a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil, such as feedstock production, techno-economic analysis, economic viability studies and processing technologies.

“Boeing and Embraer, two of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers, are partnering in an unprecedented way to make more progress on sustainable aviation biofuel than one company can do alone,” said Donna Hrinak, president, Boeing Brazil and Boeing Latin America. “Brazil, a pioneer in the sustainable fuels industry, will play a leading role in establishing the biofuels industry and helping meet aviation’s environmental goals.”

“Our purpose is to support work on developing and maturing the knowledge and technologies needed to establish a sustainable aviation biofuel industry in Brazil with global reach,” said Mauro Kern, executive vice president, Engineering and Technology, Embraer. “Brazil has shown its potential and is already a benchmark for the clean-energy industry, having created very successful ethanol and biodiesel industries.”

This joint research center is the latest in a series of collaborative efforts by Boeing and Embraer, and Brazilian partners on sustainable aviation biofuel.