Brazil amps up Biofuels research on sugarcane

In a recent article from Science magazine, Brazil has just opened a $40 million Bioethanol Science and Technology Center (CTBE). This center would focus on the conversion of bagasse, the processed sugarcane stalks, to fuel through further enzymatic breakdown.  This new development is in an effort to develop rather than have to purchase from other companies the technology to make Brazil’s sugarcane to biodiesel operation more productive. Marcos Buckeridge, the scientific director of CTBE, believes that about two thirds of the sugar cane’s sugars remain trapped in straw and bagasse in forms that ethanol- producing yeast can’t digest. He says that this could raise per acre ethanol production by 40% , so theoretically if the over 3 billion liters of ethanol exported every year is raised by 40% than 4.2 billion liters could be exported.

Brazil is just trying to keep up in the growing competitive field filled by large conglomerates such as Monsanto.  Currently Brazil is 11th worldwide in published papers on biofuel with 80 while the United states is in the lead with 5,143. The article also pointed out that most of the cited research on biofuel comes from the United States, Belgium, India, and Japan. Brazil is trying to undergo new colaborations with companies internationally in order to spark new discoveries. Hopefully this center will produce the great research that Brazil is hoping for.

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