Emirati energy company invests $2.4 billion in Brazil’s biofuels technology

Category: AI Americas Startup
Posted by Lea Hogg

Emirati state-owned Mubadala Capital’s energy company Acelen has announced that it will invest US $2.44 billion (BRL12 billion) in biofuel production in Brazil over the next 10 years. The work will start in 2026 and over 1 billion litres per year of renewable or ‘green’ diesel and sustainable kerosene will be produced in an initiative to deliver a transition to green energy in Brazil.

Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala is set up as a sovereign wealth fund and was established in 2017 as a result of a merger between Mubadala Development and International Petroleum Investment Company.

The biorefinery will produce a fuel alternative without the need of fossil fuels, using resources derived from vegetable oils and animal fats. When burnt, green diesel releases around 80 percent less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel diesel.

Emerging Technologies for eco-friendly biofuels production

Biotechnology advancement can assist in overcoming the challenges to produce biofuel. Investment in emerging technologies ensures more efficiency and lower operating costs.

Synthetic biofuels derived from agricultural sources, such as biohydrogen, biogas, biogasoline, biodiesel, and green diesel, will be the preferred ‘green’ choice.

The project will reinforce Brazil’s role as a strategic provider of renewable fuels by its investment to capitalising on its natural resources. The country already has the infrastructure in place to produce soy-based biodiesel and ethanol from sugar and corn.

The first phase of the new project will use soybean oil and complementary raw materials to produce biofuel in Brazil. These materials have the largest available volume in Brazil, Acelen. The plant will require up to 900,000 tonnes of soy oil per year, with an additional annual consumption of 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes of corn oil and animal fat.

Marcelo Cordaro, vice president of new business at Acelen, said the technical readiness of the biorefinery production will be used to invest in the value chain of the infrastructure at its Mataripe plant. The future prospects of emerging biofuel technologies could potentially bridge with the existing biofuels technologies to enable export of the new eco-friendly fuels.

The second stage will use oil from the Macaúba tree, which is native to Brazil. The tree holds high energy potential, along with palm oil to generate renewable fuels. Planting of the trees required for this will begin in 2025. The company said it will plant an area of 200,000 hectares, and prioritise degraded land.

Acelen will focus on the manufacturing of green diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, with an initial focus on the international market.

We want to be a global player; we are starting to be big, and we already have the competitiveness to operate abroad,” Marcelo Lyra, Vice-President, Institutional relations, communication and ESG – Acelen

It was reported that in 2021 70 percent of Brazil’s total renewable energy supply was made up of biomass energy. Nearly 25 percent of transport fuels in Brazil come from biofuels. When compared to other countries this is high. Furthermore biodiesel production is growing and represents nearly 10 percent of diesel used in Brazil.

The advancement of biotechnology will help fuel the growing bioeconomy and reliance on foreign oil and greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. In Brazil it will help to establish and stimulate the development of a new domestic bioenergy industry.  Because of rising fossil fuel prices, depletion of petroleum supplies, and environmental concerns, the perspective and motivation for the development of cleaner and more sustainable energy resources is expanding globally and relies on the advancement of emerging technologies.

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