The commercial potential of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil is substantial due to the great amount of sugarcane bagasse, a fibrous residue of sugarcane production, available in the country. Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane producer with an extraction capacity of approximately 600 million tons per year, currently yielding 27 billion liters (7 billion gallons) of ethanol. It is estimated that bagasse-to-ethanol technology can increase the country’s ethanol production by some 40% without having to increase the crop area.
Novozymes is already carrying out research on enzymes to convert bagasse to cellulosic ethanol in order to make the process commercially viable. Enzymes break down plant waste such as corn stover, wheat straw, wood chips, and sugarcane bagasse, which is then fermented to produce ethanol.
Since 2006 Petrobras has been carrying out research on integrated biochemical processes for converting sugarcane bagasse to ethanol.
Petrobras is a publicly traded corporation, which operates in an integrated manner in the following segments: oil and natural gas exploration and production; electric energy generation and distribution; derivatives production; oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, derivatives, and electric power trade; oil, natural gas, and derivatives transportation; base petrochemicals production; fertilizer production; biofuel production; and derivatives distribution.