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The Embassy of Brazil in South Africa is set to host a high-level Policy Forum in Pretoria in March to highlight Brazil-South Africa collaboration opportunities in the fields of bioenergy, bioelectricity and biofuels.

In Brazil’s energy matrix, which has 45 per cent coming from renewables, sugarcane derivatives account for more than 17 per cent of Brazil´s total primary energy generation, behind only petroleum and its derivatives (34.4 per cent) and ahead of hydropower (12.4 per cent).   

Brazil is now the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of ethanol and 65 per cent of the country’s sugarcane crop is now destined for ethanol production – up significantly from 54 per cent in 2017/18. It is proportionally the largest consumer of ethanol in its transport matrix (19 per cent) , with ethanol already replacing 40 per cent of gasoline.

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In addition, bagasse is an energy source for steam production when manufacturing ethanol and sugar. Bioelectricity generated from sugarcane biomass is partly consumed in the plants, contributing to assure their self-sufficiency, and partly exported to the national grid. In 2018, 61 per cent of sugarcane biomass in bioelectricity generation were exported to the grid, which over the last ten years represented a total injection of 150 TWh.

The production of ethanol and bioelectricity has also delivered significant benefits in terms of job creation and mitigation of green house gas emissions, avoiding from 2008 to 2018 the emission of 560 MtCO2. By using liquid biofuels, Brazil has considerably lowered emissions of particulate matter (MP2.5), carbon monoxide, formaldehydes, reactive hydrocarbons and other volatile organic compounds precursory to photochemical smog and ozone formation, greatly contributing to urban air quality.

South Africa, which already counts on competitive sugar industries, has been identified by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as having potential for the expansion of sustainable bioenergy production from sugarcane, which might contribute to the achievement of the objectives expressed in the NDP 2030 and the IRP 2019.  To harness its potential, discussions on policy framework, expertise and technology must take place.

The Embassy of Brazil in South Africa, with the support of APLA (the Brazilian ‘Ethanol Cluster’) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, will host the Policy Forum on Monday 16 March 2020. 

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Originally published on esi-africa.com