Brazil to achieve industrial scale second generation ethanol production

GraalBio Investments LLC, of the Brazilian group Graal, and Chemtex, subsidiary of Italian Mossi & Guisolfi (M&G), one of the largest PET container manufacturers in the world, have announced a partnership for the production of biofuels out of biomass, utilizing new technology called PROESA.

Expectations are that the company begins producing second generation ethanol at competitive costs as soon as 2013. It will be the first plant in the country to produce second generation ethanol on an industrial scale. Plans are to produce 75 million liters of ethanol a year.

Currently, Chemtex is building a factory in Crescentino, north Italy, which will have installed capacity for producing 40 million liters of ethanol. Operations are projected to begin next year and will also employ PROESA technology.

The TPG (Texas Pacific Group) also entered the project in a joint venture with Chemtex for the creation of Beta Renewables. Investments total 250 million Euros. The venture expects to license its technology to other companies interested in the business.

According to Guido Ghisolfi, CEO of Chemtex and M&G VP, the cellulosic ethanol produced will only fill in gaps in the national production and not compete with it. He also stated that the biofuel to be produced by Beta will cost less than half of what it currently costs in Brazil. It will also be able to be used directly as a fuel for a cost of US$ 1.20 to US$ 1.30 a gallon (equivalent of 3.78 liters).

Antonio de Pádua Rodrigues, technical director of UNICA, declared that the production of second generation ethanol should complement the supplies provided by conventional ethanol. “Ethanol production today yields 7 thousand liters per hectare. Second generation projects can elevate this to 12 thousand per hectare,” he stated.

Rodrigues added that the conventional sugar/energy mills can improve their industrial efficiency and that new varieties of sugarcane can be more productive. However, second generation of the fuel may have untold advantages to the country.

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