Brazil could export rice-based ethanol

29 February 2012 23:56  [Source: ICIS news]

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (ICIS)--Brazil could one day export rice-based ethanol as the country has developed a strain that contains more starch, a refiner said on Wednesday.

The refiner, Vinema Biorefinarias do Sul, is in the Rio Grande do Sul state, which is the nation's largest producer of rice, with 60% of Brazil's rice production.

Rio Grande do Sul state may quadruple its rice production for ethanol from 1m hectare to 4m hectares, said Vilson Machado, research and development director at Vinema.

As such, the portion of Rio Grande do Sul's rice production not used as food could be used to make ethanol. 

The state's current rice harvest is around 7m tonnes/year.

According to Machado, Brazil could sell and even export the rice-based ethanol at the same prices as US corn-based ethanol.

Even if the rice-based ethanol has higher costs than that for sugarcane-based material, the fuel could still be an alternative for Brazil, since the country has started importing the biofuel, Machado said.

Also, rice-based ethanol could benefit Rio Grande do Sul, since it imports ethanol from other Brazilian states.

The new rice strain was developed by biorefineries and Brazil's Embrapa Clima Temperado.

By: Leo Siqueira
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