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Brazil’s Ethanol Experiment is becoming an Ethanol Standard

Posted in Alt Fuels, Emissions, Ford, GM by will bee | August 23rd, 2007 | 3 Responses |

Brazilian Gasoline v. Ethanol

As the rest of the world gnaws over the decision of whether ethanol is a feasible solution to the great fuel debate, Brazil is moving forward with their own ethanol vision. The Detroit Press has just concluded a three part series on Brazil’s transformation back to an ethanol dominant nation.

Back in the 1970’s while under military dictatorship Ethanol was the law and petroleum based engines were penalized. Then came democracy (coencidence) and a sugar boom in the 1980’s that sent sugar prices through the ceiling and sent ethanol out the door. Now ethanol has returned full force to the Brazilian market and it looks like (for now) there is no turning back.

Two of the major blends of fuel available (besides diesel) are gasoline (which is 25 percent ethanol and 75 percent gasoline) and alcool (which is 100% ethanol). Ethanol makes up 40% of Brazil’s total fuel use; a number that is certain to increase in the coming years as more distilleries are built and greater sugar cane harvests are produced.

While the Brazilian example is a model for other nations it may not be one that applies across the board without some disparity. Nations must study their own needs and available resources to determine the best means to make the shift toward ethanol. While corn is an easy solution here in the U.S. it is not nearly as efficient a choice as sugar cane is in Brazil. Other options such as algae may be the sugar cane for the U.S.

For a more in-depth look at Brazil’s ethanol progress and conviction check out the full series at The Detroit News website.

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3 Responses

  1. Dee says:

    Well, pour some sugar on me.. glad Brazil is taking their part on alternate fuel sources..

  2. jon b says:

    Yeast consumes sugar and converts it to CO2 and alchohol (ethanol). So we stop sending $ to the middle east but we contribute heavily to greenhouse gases

  3. James says:

    “Yeast consumes sugar and converts it to CO2 and alchohol (ethanol). So we stop sending $ to the middle east but we contribute heavily to greenhouse gases”

    You say there will be an increase in greenhouse gasses, such as CO2, but you are overlooking something. If ethanol were to become the major fuel source for automobiles, it will become a massive industry and millions more acres will be planted. Plants will then, in turn, produce oxygen from that CO2, while producing more ethanol.
    Here’s another thought – How about we stop ruining and destroying plantlife such as forests? That would contribute greatly to CO2 levels.

    If I had to choose, I would much prefer to have something that can be reversed into oxygen, like CO2, produced than have excess levels of CO (Carbon Monoxide) and many other smog gasses. Carbon Monoxide not only is detrimental to the health of humans, but it also takes the loosely-held oxygen atom in O3 (Ozone) and becomes O2 (oxygen) and CO2.
    Trust me, CO2 is the least of our worries.