Brazil taking leadership role in its use of aviation biofuels
Dec. 30, 2014, Sao Paulo, Brazil - Brazil is the world’s largest sugarcane ethanol producer and a pioneer in using ethanol as a motor fuel since 1970’s. This puts the country in a good position to fight for a market that seems to be opening up: the production of aviation bio-kerosene made from sugarcane.
In the 1970’s, the country was a pioneer in using ethanol to fuel most of its cars. Now, some Brazilians are aiming for the sky and filling the tanks of airplanes.
Brazil’s largest carrier Gol Airlines was among the first to use a fuel blend that includes ten percent of a sugarcane based bio-kerosene. The new fuel is not yet used regularly but the company has made a number of experimental flights and plans to carry on with the trials.
Brazilian plane maker Embraer produces the Ipanema, a small agriculture airplane powered by pure ethanol. But the Ipanema is the exception.
The idea is not to create airplanes that can fly on different fuels but to develop biofuels that can be used in the exact same engines that now fly using petroleum-based aviation fuels.
The head of biofuels research at Embraer said Brazil is in a good position to develop an aviation biofuel industry and that larger scale production will help reduce prices in the future.
The development of aviation biofuels could hold important changes for the airline industry. In the long-term it may help reduce dependence on oil and even lower operational costs.
But for now, the main goal is to cut down greenhouse gas emissions. Airlines have committed to cut their carbon emissions in half by 2050, and many believed bio-fuels will play a key role in achieving this.