U.S. Industry Starting Brazilian Corn #Ethanol Plant

Brazil-ethanol-markerIowa-based Summit Agricultural Group recently broke ground on the first large-scale corn ethanol production facility in Brazil.

The $115 million plant is an international collaboration between Iowa-based Summit Agricultural group and Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril which will utilize process technologies from ICM, Inc. of Colwich, Kansas. The facility is being built near Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, a preeminent agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans.

Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter speaks at groundbreaking

Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter speaks at groundbreaking

“This is a significant day for renewable fuels, Brazil and Summit Agricultural Group,” said Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter at the March 29 groundbreaking. “Through Summit’s expertise in sustainable agriculture, investment and renewable energy, we will further realize the enormous corn growing potential of a region that is poised to become a global leader in corn ethanol production.”

Rastetter says the plant will provide value to Brazil by helping to offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can’t be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production. In addition, the new corn ethanol production facility will introduce the use of distillers grains for livestock feed to the region.

The plant is expected to be complete by mid-2017.

Sumitomo Invests in Cosan Biomassa

Sumitomo Corporation has signed a contract to acquire up to 20 percent of Cosan Biomassa, a producer of sugarcane pellets for power generation. With an eye on Asia’s need to reduce fossil fuel use and meet goals as set forth in the Climate Treaty last December, the partnership between Sumitomo and Cosan will focus on increasing exports to Japan and Europe as well as increase domestic sales.

bagasse-pelletsAccording to a press statement, the state of Sao Paulo has the collective production potential of 45 million tons/year of sugarcane pellets. The venture has set forth a goal to produce 2 million tons by 2025 and as much as 8 million tons/year in the future. Cosan Biomassa has developed a fuel pellet made from sugarcane residues such as bagasse from the sugar mill and straw left over in the sugarcane field, and built a large-scale production plant with an annual capacity 175,000 tons that went into commercial production in December 2015.

“Brazil is already among the largest producers and exporters of agricultural commodities in the world. Pelletized biomass is a new commodity being created to serve the low carbon economy,” said Mark Lyra, Cosan Biomassa CEO. “By making use of sugarcane residues and benefiting from the economic and environmental advantages that the shift to rail logistics brings to the game, Brazil is positioned to become the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.”

Sumitomo Corporation has targeted biomass energy as a promising source of renewable energy, and began importing biomass fuel for power generation to Japan in 2008.

“By the year 2030, we foresee that Japan will consume as much as 10 million+ tons of pelletized biomass, the majority of which would come from overseas. Renewable energy including biomass will play a prominent role in our power generation sector by that time,” said Yoshinobu Kusano, general manager, Biomass Business, Sumitomo Corporation. “We believe a relevant portion of this demand will be met by agricultural waste, particularly sugarcane biomass pellets produced in Brazil. Sugarcane’s productivity and abundant availability tied to the fact that we are using its residual byproduct as a raw material gives us a unique sustainability condition when compared to other biomass sources in the world.”

New Holland Hero Growing for Energy

This year during the Expo Milano New Holland announced its “heros” as part of its “Seeds of Life Series“. One such hero was Brazilian Victor Campenelli, who grows 37,000 acres of corn and sugarcane and also has a cattle operation in Southern Brazil. Looking in to the future, Victor is looking forward to building a power plant utilizing cane straw.

brazil-victorHe works as part of his family business dating back to 1982. Since 2002 their main crops are sugarcane, cattle and corn. He was proud to be a winner because he feels that it helps farmers in his country gain more respect for the work they do to feed, fuel and power the country.

Victor also noted that one thing Brazil hasn’t really capitalized is producing power from biomass. They have completed a project where the plant is able to produce 30 MW per hour and about 240,000 MW per year just using cane straw, a material he said is like trash, its just left behind on the field. He added that it’s good for the land because they only take a portion of the biomass from the field and the remaining cane straw puts organic matter back in the soil and protects from erosion.

There are plans to develop additional power plants using cane straw.

Listen to Cindy interview with Victor Campenelli here: New Holland Hero Victor Campanelli from Brazil

2015 New Holland Heroes & Bloggers Days

What Do You Think About the Brazilian Bioeconomy?

Leading up to World Bio Markets Brasil, taking place November 30-December 1, 2015 in Sao Paulo, GreenPower Conferences asked over 100 people their thoughts on the Brasilian bioeconomy and the factors influencing it, including: What the biggest change in the last 12 months has been; the biggest threat to the industry; and the most important factor over the next year. And the survey said…Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.42.48 AM

Click here to see the full infographic.

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.