by Laís F. Thomaz* (Advanced Biofuels USA) Held in Campos do Jordão on 16-19 October 2017, the Third Edition of Brazilian Conference on Science and Technology BioEnergy (BBEST) highlighted the theme “Designing a Sustainable Bioeconomy”.
BBEST had 385 registered participants with 153 academics, 140 students, 54 invited speakers and 37 professionals from private companies, in which 40 countries were represented – most of the participants were from Brazil, United States and Germany.
During the opening ceremony, Prof José Goldemberg, Director of Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), emphasized the support given to the development of the BIOEN Project, adding a total of 80 billion reais since its launch.
The General Secretary of the Conference and Director of the Agronomy Institute of Campinas (IAC), Heitor Cantarella stated that all 267 posters presented in the conference were very enthusiastic. BBEST also had a competition between them in master’s, PhD’s and post-doc’s categories.
In addition to that, there was the Global Biobased Business Competition (G-BiB) with the purpose of stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation producing a biorenewable chemical, material and/or fuel product. It is an initiative of the BioInnovation Growth mega-Cluster (BIG-C), involving Master and PhD Students in Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil.
The winners were a Brazilian startup called SANergya, created by Masters students and professors from the University of Taubaté (Unitau), in the Vale do Paraíba and they will receive € 10,000 to execute an innovative system that can produce biogas, biofertilizers and sulfur from anaerobic effluent fermentation.
It is also important to mention that it was the first time that BBEST had a Chairwoman, Glaucia Mendes Souza from University of São Paulo (USP).
Watch BBest Opening ceremony.
At least three BBEST round tables highlighted the government program called RenovaBio. This initiative from the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy aims to launch a new era of the bioenergy in the country.
Plinio Nastari, representing the National Council for Energy Policy (CNPE, in Portuguese) showed the importance of this program in terms of its economic impacts. He stated that RenovaBio is a plan that can increase local production of transportation fuels with rationality, efficiency and lower costs.
Nastari defended RenovaBio as a policy that is coherent with the current economic challenges because it is a development strategy to generate jobs and income – it leverages the auto industry and brings value to local automotive engineering, promotes better use of energy in cane residues for co-generation, bio[digestion and second generation ethanol and thus, it generates jobs in the interior and promotes a great integration of the cities.
Gonçalo Pereira from the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE) emphasized that RenovaBio can create a “green coin market” and help Brazil to boost its economy.
In this sense, Bernardo Silva, CEO of the Brazilian Industrial Biotechnology Association (ABBI), presented some projection of Brazil fostering innovation, investments and development: including biofuels, the direct and indirect effects of the additional production allowed through new biotechnology could amount US$ 160 billion annually and the annual output of this new advanced bioeconomy would generate a tax revenue of US$ 9.5 billion per year.
A local initiative to increase the investments in the bioeconomy also was presented: the city of Campinas has created an inter-institutional platform called Agropolo, that involves technical cooperation in the areas of agriculture, food, biodiversity, bioenergy, green chemistry and sustainable development.
Agropolo was inspired by the French association Agropolis International that was funded and administered by institutions of the regional scientific community Languedoc-Roussillon in Montpellier because it is considered one of the highest concentrations of skill in agriculture, food, environment and biodiversity.
Campinas has already five technologic complexes and it plans to create one specific to the bioeconomy. Agropolo expects an approximation of the academic and industry nterests, allowing access to new sources of financing for technological development and innovation, the formation of associated research groups, stimulating partnerships, joint ventures and investments in the sector, the development of new products and promoting innovative processes related to the agro-food sector and sustainable development. This will attract more investments to Campinas and create new markets for companies installed in this region.
There was a special session chaired by Prof. Luiz Cortez from Campinas State Universuty (Unicamp) about the Bioenergy Contribution of the Latin America & Caribbean and Africa to the GSB Project, known by LACAf . This is a project with the objective to “create a robust and updated perspective for sustainable bioenergy development in these regions, particularly considering the use of sugarcane as feedstock for producing biofuel and bioelectricity; and focusing on some countries (Colombia, Guatemala, Mozambique and South Africa), aiming to build a base for consistent decision making and offering a possible approach for similar contexts.“
The session was divided in three sections: How? How much? And Why?
The first question was answered by Prof. Manoel Regis Leal (Unicamp) and Prof. Antonio Bonomi (CTBE). They focused their analysis on a comparison of Colombia, Mozambique and Brazil, considering biofuels as a driver for the rural development of food and energy security.
Prof. Felipe Gomes, from Maringa State University (UEM), showed UEM’s work with land and soil analysis in these three countries and the maps created that identify the areas for growing sugar cane.
Prof. Cortez ended the session with the message that there is good potential for promoting modern bioenergy based on sugarcane in Latin America and Africa. This requires a deep understanding of their realities in addition to their economic and financial support and their regulatory frameworks.
The LACAf will have a workshop November 9-10, 2017, in the United States at the Agricultural & Biological Engineering Dept, University of Florida, Gainesville,FL. READ MORE
*Laís F. Thomaz is a Post-doctoral researcher at San Tiago Dantas Graduated Program promoted by Unesp/Unicamp/PUC-SP, São Paulo, Brazil and researcher at National Institute of Science and Technology for Studies on the United States (INCT-INEU)