Brazil Promotes Biofuel from Sugarcane

New campaign aims to build up international biofuels market.

Brazil is to launch a $10 million international campaign promoting the use of biofuel from sugarcane as a way of boosting its huge industry in the sector, officials said Feb. 25. The initiative, which was signed Feb. 25 between the Brazilian trade promotion agency Apex and the sugar cane industry association Unica in front of Development Minister Miguel Jorge, will run to the end of 2009. Unica boss Marcos Jank said world biofuel production represents one percent of the production of fossil fuels. "The aim is to build an international biofuels market, which currently practically does not exist," Apex president Alessando Teixeira said.

It will target the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Teixeira said demand for ethanol from crops is growing, "and Brazilian ethanol, made from sugarcane, has emerged as the most viable alternative, with competitive advantages over maize, beetroot and other primary materials."

The U.S. is the top world producer of ethanol biofuel, making 28 billion liters in 2007, mostly from maize. Brazil came second with 22 billion liters, derived from sugarcane.

The biofuel industry is rapidly expanding as governments and companies try to wean themselves off their dependence on oil, which has hit record prices. The EU in January called for biofuels to be used in at least 10% of fuels used in transport in the 27-nation bloc by 2020 as a way of combating climate change.

More than 80% of new cars in Brazil are "flex" models, meaning they can operate on ethanol, gasoline or a mix of both.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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