Brazil gains 10 gigawatts from sugar cane waste
By Frans van Hees | www.AboutBrasil.com | Week 23, May 2015
Rio de Janeiro —
Sustainable power productionwith bagasse,
fiber waste from the sugar cane industry, has reached a milestone in Brazil. The country generates no less than 10,000 megawatts on the biomass.
Power plants on sugar cane waste are now supplying 7 percent of
electricity in Brazil.
That is three times more than coal plants. By the way, Brazil generates almost two-thirds of electricity using hydropower.
According to Zilmar de Souza, head of bioelectricity for the organization of Brazilian sugar cane industry, the milestone of 10,000 megawatts represents the importance of sugarcane for the electricity sector in Brazil.
Mr De Souza is also worried about slowing growth. This year, he expects that at most 633 megawatts of capacity could be added. In 2010 that figure was still 1,750 megawatts.
Brazil grows sugar cane mainly to produce
ethanol. Ethanol is an important fuel for cars in Brazil. Instead of generating electricity by the burning of the sugar cane residues, companies also investigate if they can convert the cellulose-rich bagasse into ethanol.
Last year Raizen, a joint venture of the Brazilian biofuel producer and Shell opened a factory which produces 40 million liters of bioethanol annually from the fiber residues.
In April this year, the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) announced to have developed a method that makes the