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Arguing over the pros and cons of using ethanol as a transportation fuel isn't just an American thing. The Brazilians are going at it, too. We will translate.

With Brazil's ethanol prices soaring, the nation's government is expected to put forth a policy to reduce the mandatory ethanol blend in gasoline. Brazil's energy minister, Edison Lobao, recently met with President Dilma Rousseff. The two immediately arrived at the conclusion that unless Brazil's mandatory ethanol blend is reduced, the nation will run out of the biofuel before the next sugarcane harvest.

Lagging U.S. sales of E85, lax trade restrictions and Brazil's worst sugarcane harvest of the last decade will allow the United States to overtake the South American nation as the world's leading ethanol exporter during the second half of 2011, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced last week. Okay, officially, the EIA said it was "likely" to happen, but when you put all the pieces together, we think "likely" = "will."

In a gesture to improve biofuel trade relations with the U.S. and other countries, Brazil's Council of Ministers of the Board of Foreign Trade (MDIC) has temporarily lifted the country's tariff on imported ethanol, changing the tax rate from 20 percent to zero percent. The tariff will be lifted through the end of 2011.

Photo by petrr. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Photo by Marxchivist. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

85 liters of ethanol per each tonne (metric) of sugarcane harvested. This is the output of a standard sugarcane ethanol plant. As we know, 45 percent of Brazilian fuel needs are covered by ethanol. Of course, what once was thought as the easy solution to replace fossil fuels is now being blamed for a dramatic rise in food prices (or not), by as much as 86 percent. However, we found an article that states that only one feedstock has maintained prices since 2006: sugarcane.

According to an article in The New Economic Times, Fiat is planning to launch a new ethanol-powered engine for the Brazilian market. Ethanol is widely used for fuel in Brazil and half of the country's sugar cane crops are currently used for its production. Fiat intends the motor to be run on fuel that the ethanol producers create themselves, saving on taxes. What is most interesting about this story, though, is that it seems the new engine will be based on a current diesel block. In fact, a smal

Some countries believe that their development expectations can be improved if they switch from oil-based fuels to biofuels. Such is the case of Colombia, a country that has just received the support of the United States to produce biofuel to satisfy some of the country's energy needs. Gregory Manuel, from the U. S. State Department, stated that part of the $1 billion program the U.S. is investing in biofuels includes estabilishing partnerships with nations such as Brazil and Colombia. Speaking t

Marcos Jank, president of the Sugarcane Union Industry (Unica) in Brazil recently said that, "We're ready to discuss an environmental, social and economic certification of ethanol." São Paulo's ethanol industry is ready to introduce new methods for sugarcane production, such as better mechanization in order to avoid side effects from harvesting. How does this help green up ethanol production? Well, mechanization, some claim, avoids the need for burning after harvest (a very polluting acti

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil visited last week a plant near São Paul which is testing a new method to obtain ethanol from sugarcane pomace bagasse (what's left after sugar is extracted). Petrobras, the company that is financing this research hopes to obtain 40 percent more ethanol without harvesting more sugarcane.

A company based in Wisconsin called ENCAP has attracted some attention from investors when they recently found an agricultural product with which they can produce using the byproducts from the creation of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. In fact, they can use "almost any inert material, including byproducts of the sugar cane process, or dried distillers grains from the corn ethanol process", according to Michael Krysiak, president of ENCAP in an interview performed by Inside Greentech. They

The State of Florida handed out $15 million in grants for a variety of biofuel projects resulting from the 2006 Florida Energy Act. Two thirds of that went to a variety of fuel and energy production projects, such as ethanol production facilities. The rest went to several research projects including a new cellulosic ethanol program that got almost $1 million.

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