(BECOOL/AltEnergyMag) - A new Horizon 2020 project will foster cooperation between Europe and Brazil in the development of advanced biofuels from sustainable agricultural value chains, based on lignocellulosic biomass. Coordinated by the University of Bologna, Department of Agricultural Sciences, the four-year BECOOL project will be carried out by a consortium of thirteen partners from seven EU countries, including universities, research institutes, industries and SMEs.
The activities of BECOOL will be aligned with those of BioVALUE, a twin project in Brazil, funded by five State Foundations (FAPESP from São Paulo state, FAPEMIG from Minas Gerais state, FAPERJ from Rio de Janeiro state, FACEPE from Pernambuco state, and FAPERGS from Rio Grande do Sul state) and five Industrial Companies (Petrobras, Fibria, Klabin, Boeing, and Embraer), with 12 research institutions and university partners, coordinated by the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) of the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM).
Building on existing complementarities in scientific expertise and experience between EU and Brazil in the development of advanced biofuels, the two projects will adopt a synergistic work programme, to develop a series of research and demonstration activities, covering the entire value chain in a balanced way: from innovative biomass production and logistics, to efficient conversion pathways and exploitation.
The cooperation between Europe and Brazil on advanced biofuels will bring mutual benefits and will create synergies at scientific level that will help exploit the full economic potential of advanced biofuel value chains, while creating unique opportunities for both Brazilian and European companies. A lesson learned from existing biofuel value chains, both in Europe and in Brazil, is that sustainable, reliable, and affordable biomass production logistics are often a big conundrum. In the EU, advanced biofuels can be produced from annual and perennial lignocellulosic crops and from crop residues such as cereal straw, which have a large potential in Europe. However, using only crop residues can create problems with logistics and with biomass supply to large industrial plants, due to fluctuations in yields, prices and availability at local level. Land pressure of advanced biofuel plants could be reduced by adopting different and complementary cropping strategies that integrate both food and fuel crops, aimed at increasing the productivity of lignocellulosic biomass as well as improving the logistics of the value chains.
Brazil is speeding up the commercial implementation of advanced biofuel production, currently focused on sugarcane bagasse, with short-term perspectives to diversify the feedstock with eucalyptus, energy cane and sugarcane residues. Using sugarcane bagasse and straw to produce cellulosic ethanol would dramatically increase the total ethanol yield per unit land. It has been estimated, for example, that by transforming only half of the available bagasse and straw into ethanol, the Brazilian ethanol output would increase by at least 50%. READ MORE