Brazilian biodiesel not chugging along as easily as ethanol

It's taken decades for Brazil's ethanol industry to provide the domestic market with a flood of ethanol. The country's biodiesel industry is still young, but the future for this biofuel may not be as glorious as its yellow cousin's thanks to a combination of bad planning and limited source material.
Reuters is reporting that Brazil's fledgling biodiesel program has some "serious obstacles" to overcome, but that the government says the obstacles can be handled. The main problems are lack of what Reuters calls "primary materials" (what we usually refer to as biomass, in this case soy oil) and poor planning. The dearth of biomass may be resolved if, as Mozart Schmitt de Queiroz of state oil and gas company Petrobras suggests, some non-soy oils are used to produce biodiesel. No one can go back and fix the lack of planning in the past, but the country has about a year to figure out how to make enough biodiesel to meet the 2 percent mandate by 2008.

Automakers (like Toyota, to cite just one example) build biofuel cars for the Brazilian market, and if the biodiesel production problems can be overcome and biodiesel takes off there the way ethanol has, then it logically follows that automakers will dedicate as much attention to biodiesel engines as they have E85 and E100. Let's hope this doesn't take many decades.

[Source: Denise Luna and Inae Riveras / Reuters]

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