How Brazil’s biofuels industry is improving its productivity

terça-feira, julho 02, 2019

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Brazil’s coke, oil derivatives and biofuel industries saw a 6.1% annual average improvement in productivity between 2008 and 2018, according to a study by industry federation CNI.
Among four sectors analyzed – the others being beverages, leather and footwear, and pharmacy products – oil derivatives and biofuels was the one showing the most improvement. CNI’s executive manager for research, Renato da Fonseca, told BNamericas that most of the increase came from biofuels production as the industry intensified its use of machinery to harvest sugarcane.
“The [economic] crisis also helped, because it showed companies they either needed to increase productivity or go broke. During that period, the rhythm of production fell and that helped firms better analyze their management,” Fonseca said.
In addition to the mechanization of 98% of harvesting in the center-west and south regions, another factor leading to greater competitiveness was the increase in biomass-fired power generation. The use of fertigation – adding fertilizers to irrigation systems – and biological controls also helped, as did a reduction in water use with the adoption of dry cleaning.
“We revolutionized our operations. It’s important to note that those processes also led to high investments in labor training,” Luciano Rodrigues, manager at sugarcane industry association Unica, told BNamericas.
Projections of crop agency Conab show Brazil should see record ethanol production this year at 33.1bn liters, 21.7% higher than in 2018. The expectation is that new technologies coming onto the market will bring even greater competitiveness gains to the biofuels industry and help extend canebrakes’ useful life.
Changes expected to be seen soon include new types of cane seeds that are more productive and resistant, and the development of the 4.0 industry. In addition, more use of inter-rotational methods, which intercalate crops of different seeds to reduce costs and improve logistics systems, should also bring benefits.
Brazil is currently focusing on developing the biofuels industry to cut carbon emissions through the RenovaBio program, which should help it reach the Paris agreement emissions reduction goals. In total, the federal government aims to cut carbon emissions by 600Mt between 2018 and 2028.
Page: bnamerican

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