Petrobras Biocombustível already dominates completely the technological process involved in producing biodiesel from castor beans. The fuel was obtained with a blend of 30% castor bean oil and 70% sunflower seed oil, both produced by family farmers who participate in the company's oleaginous plant supply programs.
The work was done by Petrobras' Research Center (Cenpes) at the Guamaré Plant, in Rio Grande do Norte, in an ongoing operation system, and is within the technical specifications set forth by the ANP - the National Petroleum Agency.
Using castor beans as feedstock to produce biodiesel is already a reality at the Candeias plant, in Bahia, as well. On November 30, the unit made its first delivery of biodiesel containing a blend of bean oil in its composition. The load is part of a 925-ton lot that is being delivered to the distributors.
Petrobras Biocombustível's commercial plants had their production capacity boosted by 90%, to 108 million liters, up from the current 57 million liters. With this addition, the company's installed capacity is 324 million liters of biodiesel per year.
Petrobras Biocombustível also acquired 50% equity stakes in BSBIOS Marialva, an investment worth R$55 million. Located in Marialva, state of Paraná, the plant will be capable of producing 120 million liters of biodiesel per year and will go on stream in the second quarter of 2010.
Driving family agriculture
The three industrial units have the "Social Fuel Seal," a wide-ranging program of agricultural supply in the Brazilian semiarid region. This means that 30% of the oleaginous plant supply comes from family agriculture, in line with the guidelines set forth by the Federal Government's National Program for Biodiesel Production and Use for the regions where they are located.
The conditions imposed to obtain and maintain the seal include not only acquiring grains from small farmers, but also providing the farmers with agricultural technical assistance. The company currently has upwards of 55,000 family farmers among its suppliers in Northeastern Brazil and in the state of Minas Gerais. The target is to reach 80,000 agreements.
|Investments in the biofuels:||$2.8 billion from 2009 to 2013.|
|Biodiesel and ethanol production:||$2.4 billion|
|Growth targets:||To reach 2013 with a production equivalent to 25% biodiesel and 10% of the ethanol consumed in Brazil.|
|Research in biofuels:||$530 million in the next five years.|