|Harvesting renewable energy in Brazil.|
The Brazilian experience spanning nearly four decades with large-scale production and use of sugarcane ethanol will be presented in a variety of formats by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-16) and the World Climate Summit (WCS), happening simultaneously from November 29 to December 10 in Cancun, Mexico.
“Almost 50% of all the energy utilized in Brazil comes from renewable sources. That’s three times the global average, an achievement that can certainly be an example for the rest of the world as well as giving Brazil a leading role in the search for solutions for global warming and climate change,” observed the president of UNICA, Marcos Jank.
During COP-16, UNICA will be at the Brazil Pavillion with support from the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil). Other companies and organizations with cutting edge programs to combat climate change will also be represented. UNICA will conduct a seminar on alternatives to minimize emissions from transportation in emerging countries on December 6 at the Cacao Room of the COP-16 headquarters, Hotel Moon.
Marcos Jank points out that Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions measured in 2006 would have been 10% greater without the contributions from the sugar and ethanol industries. “Over the 35 years of large-scale use of biofuels in Brazil, more than 600 million tons of CO2 were kept from the atmosphere while the country saved US$ 240 billion that didn’t have to be spent on foreign oil,” he explains.
Ethanol is now moving to a new phase, beyond its use as a motor vehicle fuel on cars and city buses, to new uses and increased testing in aviation, power generators, farm implements and machinery as well as resins, fine chemicals and “green” plastics production, in which ethanol is used instead of fossil fuels like diesel, with significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
At its booth in the Brazil Pavillion, UNICA will offer video sessions with its Virtual Mill, an interactive multimedia tool that covers all production stages for sugar and ethanol, from the harvest to the distribution of finished products. Literature on clean and renewable energies will also be distributed, detailing sustainability programs conducted by the sugarcane industry.
“Energy obtained from sugarcane can benefit a number of emerging countries, by bringing social and economic development, energy independence and emission reductions. Throughout 2010, UNICA hosted over 180 foreign delegations that brought government officials, academia and investors to Brazil from several countries interested in learning more about ethanol and bioelectricity,” highlights Luiz Fernando Amaral, UNICA’s Environmental Advisor.
The WCS, held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on December 4 and 5 at the same time as the COP-16 gathering, will focus on how to connect organizations, governments, companies and investors. The goal is to disseminate the use of renewable energy solutions, already available in certain regions of the world, expanding their use to other countries with similar contexts.
The WCS agenda includes conferences, panels and technical seminars, as well as meetings with investors and representatives of financial institutions to facilitate access to resources needed to allow projects to move forward.
UNICA will have its own booth at WCS, where it will present innovations being developed by the Brazilian sugar-energy industry. “We are already producing electricity from sugarcane bagasse and straw. This is a great source of clean and renewable energy, available close to major electricity-consuming centers of the country,” explains Jank.
On December 4, UNICA’s president will participate in a plenary session on ways to foment global prosperity based on a sustainable economy. On December 5, Jank will be a featured speaker at a forum on public transportation, looking at ways to disseminate biofuels and achieve economies of scale.
The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) represents the top producers of sugar and ethanol in the country’s South-Central region, especially the state of Sao Paulo, which accounts for about 50% of the country’s sugarcane harvest and 60% of total ethanol production. UNICA develops position papers, statistics, and specific research in support of Brazil’s sugar, ethanol, and bioelectricity sectors. In 2008, Brazil produced an estimated 565 million metric tons of sugarcane, which yielded 31.3 million tons of sugar and 25.7 billion liters (6.8 billion gallons) of ethanol.
Read Biofuels and Bioenergy: Processes and Technologies from Amazon.