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Brazilian producers plan big ethanol push

 

Brazil's ethanol producers called at the Ethanol Summit 2015 in Sao Paulo for bolstering sales of the biofuel, which has lost market share to petroleum derivatives in recent years, in an effort to have a more balanced energy mix.

Ethanol is essential for cuttting imports of gasoline, Petrobras CEO Aldemir Bendine said.

The biofuel currently accounts for 16 percent of Brazil's energy mix and the government has the legal tools to provide greater support to the industry, National Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels Agency, or ANP, director Magda Chambriard said.

Brazil has been producing ethanol from sugar cane for three decades, but the industry lost its competitive edge in recent years due to a drought and the government's decision to freeze gasoline prices in 2014 as a way of fighting inflation.

Ethanol's share of the national fuel mix has fallen from 54 percent to 36 percent over the past six years, and a University of Sao Paulo study found that 300,000 jobs were lost in the industry and several plants were on the verge of bankruptcy.

The government approved an increase in the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline from 25 percent to 27 percent in March in an attempt to boost the biofuels industry.

About 90 percent of the automobiles in Brazil are equipped with engines that can use any blend of gasoline and ethanol.

Recent studies concluded that Brazil could achieve advanced biofuels production of 170 billion liters annually by 2030, allowing the South American country to reduce gasoline consumption by 83 percent.

Ethanol, made from crops such as sugar cane and corn, is basically grain alcohol. The clean-burning fuel is usually mixed with unleaded gasoline and can be pumped into vehicles at existing service stations.

The two-day Ethanol Summit 2015, which ends on Tuesday, drew about 1,300 participants. EFE

Source: Fox News Latino