Sugar may need to drop further to spur Brazil to make ethanol

Isis Almeida – Bloomberg, 02/14/2013

Sugar may need to drop further to spur millers in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, to make more ethanol at the expense of the sweetener when the 2013-14 season starts there in April, according to Macquarie Group Ltd.

Futures traded on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, down 7.6 percent this year, may need to average 17 cents to 18 cents a pound when sugar cane processing starts in the center south, Brazil’s main growing region, Kona Haque, an analyst at the bank in London, wrote in a report e-mailed today. Sugar for May delivery was down 1 percent at 18.02 cents a pound.

Millers in Brazil use raw material sugar cane to make both the sweetener and the biofuel. The price of hydrous ethanol, the 100 percent biofuel used in Brazil’s flex-fuel cars, climbed above that of sugar on Feb. 7 for the first time since April 2011, according to Kingsman SA, owned by McGraw-Hill Cos. That spurred speculation millers would make more of the biofuel.

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Brazil Area’s Cane Crop Seen Up to 65 Million Tons Higher

Isis Almeida – Bloomberg, 10/18/2012

The sugar-cane crop in Brazil’s center south, the main growing region of the world’s biggest producer, may climb 60 million to 65 million metric tons in the season that starts there in April, according to Kingsman SA.

The crop in the current season will be 512 million tons, the Lausanne, Switzerland-based researcher estimates. Rains are helping plantings for 2013-14, founder Jonathan Kingsman said today in an interview at the company’s event during London Sugar Week. Kingsman’s last forecast for the next crop was 538 million tons, and the company will revise the figure next week to take into account a new crop survey.

“The recent rains have helped plantings, have helped the crop for next year,” said Kingsman, a former Cargill Inc. employee who has worked in sugar for more than three decades. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 575 million tons.”

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Biofuels: Alternative fuels fail to live up to the hype

Ed Crooks – Financial Times, 09/12/2010

n the search for new feedstocks to provide the fuels of the future, one of the latest ideas is to use dirty nappies. Amec, the UK-based engineering group, is developing a process to use discarded disposable nappies and other plastic materials that are not now recycled to make a synthetic diesel fuel.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 3.8m tons of disposable nappies were discarded in 2008, representing about 1.5 per cent of the country’s total municipal waste.

If they could be used for fuel, that could make a useful contribution to what Amec calls “a future where trash is a thing of the past”, as well as helping meet demand for energy.

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UN official: Slavery continues in Brazil despite government efforts

Latin American Herald Tribune, 06/02/2010

Some large landowners, businesses and contractors in Brazil have “found a way to avoid being taken to court, thanks to loopholes in the law that assure impunity,” U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Gulnara Shahinian said Monday.

After her visit to the country that ended last Friday, the expert nonetheless said that “the Brazilian government has undertaken some exemplary policies to combat contemporary forms of slavery.”

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“Brazil has the potential to become the fifth largest economy in the world, but that must not happen at the expense of people’s rights,” Shahinian said.

US decision on sugarcane ethanol expected to boost Brazilian industry

Business News America, 02/04/10

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to classify sugarcane-based ethanol as an advanced biofuel will enormously benefit Brazilian ethanol producers, Julio Maria Borges, a director at sugar and ethanol industry consultancy Job Economia e Planejamento, told BNamericas.

“The US will need Brazilian ethanol to meet its biofuel targets. This classification confirms the quality of our ethanol and will inevitably open a huge market for it,” he said.

EPA’s advanced biofuel classification certifies that an approved biofuel lowers greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% compared to gasoline, according to an agency report.

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U.S. ethanol imports could temper rising prices

João Carvalho-Business News America, 01/25/10

Imported corn-based ethanol from the US could help ease ethanol prices in Brazil that have been rising because of increasing demand and heavy rains that have delayed the sugarcane harvest, Julio Maria Borges, a director at sugar and ethanol industry consultancy Job Economia e Planejamento, told BNamericas.

“Importing ethanol from the US makes sense from the commercial point of view as the American corn-based ethanol, at the moment, is US$300/m3 cheaper than ethanol produced from Brazilian sugarcane,” Borges said.

Ethanol prices in Brazil have risen 20% in the last five months, according to state news agency Agência Brasil, and some consumers in Brazil are already starting to turn to cheaper gasoline.

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Brazil raises cane over U.S. ethanol tariff

Chris Kraul-The Los Angeles Times, 11/04/09

“Brazilian sugar producers say sugar-based fuel is more environmentally sound than electricity or corn ethanol as an alternative for powering cars. But the odds are long for a change.”

The Los Angeles Times investigates the U.S. tariffs on ethanol, the impact of biofuel on the environment, and the possibility of electric cars replacing gasoline or flex-fuel options. Currently, the United States impedes Brazilian biofuels with a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol imports. The U.S. implemented the tariff in order to bolster their own ethanol production, however many environmentalists argue that Brazil’s sugarcane ethanol is an environmentally better option than U.S. corn-based ethanol.

Are electric cars a better option for the environment? Well, that depends on the available technology and how the electricity is produced. Eduardo Leao, executive director of  Brazil’s sugar industry association UNICA, comments, “Electric cars will be an alternative but an expensive one that leaves questions about where all that electricity will come from…Most U.S. electric power is generated with fossil fuels, which means, at the end of the day, you may not be reducing carbon emissions.”

Read the full Los Angeles Times article…