July 14, 2009

Brazil, land use and ethanol

Ethanol is the No. 1 renewable energy source in Brazil - and has made gasoline an "alternative fuel" in the country, according to Joel Velasco of UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association.

(See also: Gasoline no longer the primary fuel for light vehicles in Brazil from Biofuels Digest)

Valesco spent some time yesterday with the National Corn Growers Association in Washington, D.C. - read more details here.

He said more data and detailed analysis are needed to calculate land use changes - and that the collection of data is really just getting underway.

Follow the link above for more details, but here are a few bullet points:
  • A 2 percent shift in pasture lands would allow Brazil to double ethanol production.
  • Brazil’s food production has doubled in the last 10 years because of yield gains, while the volume of sugar cane for ethanol production has grown 130 percent.
  • 92 percent of new cars sold in Brazil thus far in 2009 are flexible fuel vehicles and 80% of the time drivers choose ethanol.

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