July 21, 2014
A leading sugar banker cautioned over this year’s drought in Brazil’s Centre South region hitting cane crops in 2015-16 too as he forecast a wave of mergers among mills, their financial prospects further undermined by the crop downturn.
Alexandre Figliolino, director at Banco Itau BBA, said that the cane harvest in Brazil’s Centre South, responsible for 90% of the domestic crop, could fall to 550m tonnes this season, following the drought which hit the region early in the year.
The forecast, down from 596m tonnes in 2013-14, compares with an estimate of 560m tonnes from Datagro and 575m tonnes from Kingsman, although Canaplan has a forecast of 540m tonnes.
July 18, 2014
Low corn prices in Brazil following a bumper crop are worrying farmers but providing favorable margins for an incipient corn-ethanol industry, said the manager of Usimat, the first Brazilian mill to produce the corn-based biofuel.
Usimat, located in a remote, corn-producing part of Mato Grosso state in central Brazil, plans to increase corn-based ethanol output to 100,000 tonnes this year from 67,000 tonnes last year.
Sergio Barbieri, the mill manager, currently is buying corn for 15 reais ($6.73) per bag, and says it is more profitable to use the grain than to buy sugarcane at up to 18 reais per bag.
July 18, 2014
Jessica Orwig – Physics Today, 7/18/2014
When Italian physicist Alessandro Volta was electrocuting frog legs in the 19th century, he was unaware of how vast and significant his subsequent discoveries would be for science and industry. In 1800 Volta designed the world’s first battery, which is not too different from the one that powers your smartphone today. Amy Prieto wants to change that.
Prieto is an associate professor at Colorado State University’s chemistry department. In 2008 she cofounded Prieto Battery. Today’s batteries are too expensive to produce, and they display “low battery” too soon after charging for Prieto’s liking. That is why she and her company are working toward a novel design that is 10 times more powerful, 5 times longer lasting, and less expensive than any battery on the current market.
“We’re trying to build this dream battery with these pretty amazing attributes. But the way that we make it is also pretty unusual,” says Prieto, who is one of many speakers presenting at this year’s Industrial Physics Forum (IPF) Conference on Industrial Physics in Emerging Economies II at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, Brazil.
June 20, 2014
Kenneth Rapoza – Forbes, 6/20/2014
Brazil’s deep water oil fields are developing at a faster pace than Gulf of Mexico and even in the North Sea, Petrobras general manager Anelise Lara told the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow on Thursday.
Lara was referring to both the Santos, Espirito Santo and older Campos Basin oil fields far off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, where the oil giant made market shattering discoveries in 2006.
Oil production there has hit around 400,000 barrels per day in 8 years, meaning the wells were discovered and producing faster than other deep water oil spots in the world. The Gulf of Mexico took 19 years to reach that level of production, while the North Sea took 9.
June 19, 2014
Tim Radford – RTCC, 6/16/2014
Brazil might or might not win the World Cup, but it so far seems a clear winner in the race to reduce carbon emissions, having stopped 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from escaping into the atmosphere during the last decade.
A team of economists and scientists report in the US journal Science that Brazil has achieved this, since 2004, by simply not cutting down 86,000 square kilometres of rainforest. This is, in effect, a 70% decline in deforestation, and in 2013 alone such abstention amounted to a 1.5% drop in global carbon emissions.
It sounds like eccentric accounting – awarding credits for unauthorised destruction that didn’t happen – but it represents a change of course all the same.
June 19, 2014
ASTM International, 6/19/2014
Renewable Synthesized Iso-Paraffinic (SIP) fuel has now been included in ASTM International standard D7566, Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons. A recently approved revision that adds SIP fuel to the ASTM D7566 annex will facilitate use of the fuels in all airlines internationally.
“The introduction of renewable fuel into the aviation industry enables a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas emissions without compromising fuel performance,” says ASTM member Fernando Garcia, senior director, scientific and regulatory affairs, Amyris Inc. “Independent analysis indicates that renewable farnesane hydrocarbon produced from sugarcane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent when compared to conventional Jet A/A1 fuel.”
Garcia says that Brazilian green initiatives will encourage international flights to use renewable fuels during and after these international events. “Even at a 10 percent blend of renewable fuel into the fossil fuels used by airlines, we anticipate greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced up to 3 percent,” says Garcia.
June 19, 2014
Rachel Huguet – Christian Science Monitor, 6/18/2014
In the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, a group of scientists have become unconventional crusaders in the battle to halt deforestation. They are the engine behind Imazon, one of the most prolific research groups based in the Amazon.
Imazon is now collaborating with the government of the Brazilian state of Pará to combine real-time satellite imagery and advanced mapping techniques with a system of incentives and penalties to embolden indigenous communities, local governments, and farmers to protect the rainforest.
Until recently, Pará was the epicenter of unchecked rainforest devastation. Known locally for its rural corruption and banditry, the region had been losing 6,255 square kilometers of rich biodiversity annually – an area roughly the size of Delaware. The assault threatened the territory of some of the last untouched tribes in the world, and chipped away at the Amazon’s ability to absorb 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, a critical factor in regulating the earth’s climate cycle.
June 9, 2014
Policy Forum, 2009
Brazil has two major opportunities toend the clearing of its Amazon for-est and to reduce global greenhousegas emissions substantially. The ﬁrst is its for-mal announcement within United Nations cli-mate treaty negotiations in 2008 of an Amazondeforestation reduction target, which prompted Norway to commit $1 billion if it sustains prog-ress toward this target (1). The second is a wide-spread marketplace transition within the beef and soy industries, the main drivers of defor-estation, to exclude Amazon deforesters fromtheir supply chains (2) [supplementary onlinematerial (SOM), section (§) 4]. According toour analysis, these recent developments ﬁnallymake feasible the end of deforestation in theBrazilian Amazon, which could result in a 2 to5% reduction in global carbon emissions. The$7 to $18 billion beyond Brazil’s current bud-get outlays that may be needed to stop the clear-ing [a range intermediate to previous cost esti-mates (3,4)] could be provided by the REDD(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism for compen-sating deforestation reduction that is under negotiation within the UN climate treaty (5), or by payments for tropical forest carbon creditsunder a U.S. cap-and-trade system (6 .)
June 3, 2014
Jeffrey T. Lewis – The Wall Street Journal, 6/3/2014
The two main candidates challenging Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in the October elections have criticized her government’s policies regarding the sugar-derived fuel ethanol.
Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party and Eduardo Campos of the Brazilian Socialist Party trail Ms. Rosseff in opinion polls, though some recent surveys have shown them gaining ground.
Mr. Neves promised to give ethanol greater importance in the country’s energy sector and to use government policy to promote innovation in the industry. Ms. Rousseff’s energy policy has made many mistakes that are hurting the ethanol industry, according to Mr. Neves.