Brazil Invests $50 M in Ethanol from Sugarcane Projects

Approximately US$ 50 million will be allotted for research and projects focused on advancing the obtention of ethanol from sugarcane in Sao Paulo, Brazil, thanks to a joint venture between the State of Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and Dedini S/A Industrias de Base. Developing greater efficiency in the industrial processes of the production of alcohol fuel, hydrolysis and the removal of lignin will be among the research and project themes.

To find new procedures to improve the efficiency of the transformation of sugarcane into ethanol is one of the great challenges for maintaining Brazilian competitiveness in the international market. The world’s largest producer of alcohol fuel from sugarcane, Brazil possesses cutting edge technologies and is also the largest exporter of the product.

The recent agreement provides for the issuing of Calls for Research Proposals for university-industry collaborative research projects between researchers from higher education and research institutions in the state of São Paulo and those at Dedini. In a period of five years, the agreement will contract research up to a total of US$ 50 million, with the costs split evenly between the two institutions.

“The rise of world interest in biofuels has provoked an intensification in technological advances based on scientific advances. Recognizing this challenge, FAPESP and Dedini have joined forces to stimulate and co-finance research projects that will advance knowledge and contribute to Dedini’s competitivity,” says Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP’s scientific director.

According to Brito Cruz, “there is a very capable and active scientific community in the State of São Paulo and we expect many proposals that will contribute to this national strategic objective.”

The agreement envisages the construction of a pilot plant (an industrial installation for tests), which will bring together the scientific and technological research activities for the optimization of the Dedini Rapid Hydrolysis System (DHR). The plant should be set up, for example, to handle the reception and pre-treatment of bagasse, the feeding of the reactor and the recovery of the hydrosolvent.

Patented in Brazil, the United States, the European Union and in several countries across all the continents, DHR is a process which in a few minutes, by means of acidic hydrolysis, transforms the sugarcane bagasse into fermentable matter which can be used for the production of alcohol. The process was developed by Dedini—up to the stage of pilot plant—and for the construction and installation of a Process Development Unit (UDP) on a larger scale, and it received funding from FAPESP’s Partnership for Technological Innovation program (PITE).

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