Brazilian energy company Petrobras officially began work this week on a $3.3 billion ethanol pipeline that will be able to transport 21 million cubic meters of ethanol per year from north central Brazil’s Goias state to the Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states.
Once complete, the pipeline will replace daily delivery runs by 1,500 tanker trucks. At present, 95 percent of ethanol transport is done by tanker trucks. The pipeline is expected to be completed by 2014 but the first phase of the project is scheduled to start operations in 2012.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva inaugurated construction on the project Tuesday by soldering the first pipe joint of the 202-kilometer (126-mile) pipeline. “I managed to sell the idea that humanizing the work in the sugarcane fields was important for selling ethanol to other countries,” the president said.
In other ethanol news from Brazil, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) reports that eight Brazilian sugarcane processing mills have already completed the paperwork required by the Environmental Protection Agency for ethanol to be accepted into the United States as an “advanced renewable fuel,” under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
According to UNICA’s Joel Velasco, the effort by Brazilian mills is very important because without prior registration, exporting to the United States becomes more complicated and unnecessarily delayed. “Ideally, mills should be prepared for this opportunity, because U.S. ethanol demand projections are increasing year after year, and Brazilian ethanol has been recognized by the EPA as an advanced biofuel, thanks to its 61% greenhouse gas reduction compared to gasoline. This recognition makes sugarcane biofuels desirable in the U.S. market and beyond,” he explains.
The mills that have already complied with EPA requirements and are eligible to classify their ethanol as an “advanced renewable fuel” in the United States include Cargill Cevasa, Della Coletta Bioenergia, Açúcar Guarani, LDC Bioenergia and four mills linked to Copersucar S.A.