Ethanol as Fuel

Ethanol as Fuel


92% of all newly sold cars in Brazil use ethanol as fuel, which is produced from sugar cane.


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Brazil is the world's second-largest producer of ethanol fuel. Brazil and the United States have led the industrial production of ethanol fuel for several years, together accounting for 85 percent of the world's production in 2017. Brazil produced 26.72 billion liters (7.06 billion U.S. liquid gallons), representing 26.1 percent of the world's total ethanol used as fuel in 2017.

Between 2006-2008, Brazil was considered to have the world's first "sustainable" biofuels economy and the biofuel industry leader, a policy model for other countries; and its sugarcane ethanol "the most successful alternative fuel to date." However, some authors consider that the successful Brazilian ethanol model is sustainable only in Brazil due to its advanced agri-industrial technology and its enormous amount of arable land available; while according to other authors it is a solution only for some countries in the tropical zone of Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. In recent years, however, later-generation biofuels have sprung up which don't use food crops that are explicitly grown for fuel production.

Brazil's 40-year-old ethanol fuel program is based on the most efficient agricultural technology for sugarcane cultivation in the world, uses modern equipment and cheap sugar cane as feedstock, the residual cane-waste (bagasse) is used to produce heat and power, which results in a very competitive price and also in a high energy balance (output energy/input energy), which varies from 8.3 for average conditions to 10.2 for best practice production. In 2010, the U.S. EPA designated Brazilian sugarcane ethanol as an advanced biofuel due to its 61% reduction of total life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, including direct indirect land-use change emissions.


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