Transformation Time for Brazilian Energy, Agriculture
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) … Specifically, the $155M FS Bioenergia corn ethanol production facility opened this week in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso. It’s the first large-scale corn ethanol production plant in Brazil and is the result of an international collaboration between Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril and U.S.-based Summit Agricultural Group headquartered in Alden, Iowa.
In its initial phase of operations, FS Bioenergia will annually process 22 million bushels of corn and produce more than 60 million gallons of corn ethanol, 6,200 tons of corn oil and 170,000 tons of valuable feed rations for Brazil’s growing livestock industry. By 2018, FS Bioenergia’s second phase of operations will increase corn processing and ethanol production two-fold.
Summit Agricultural Group and Fiagril broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016. FS Bioenergia will employ roughly 150 full-time workers. In addition to ethanol and co-products for livestock feed, the ethanol facility will generate 60,000 megawatts of electricity to the local power grid.
As (Bruce) Rastetter explained to The Digest:
… we saw the double crop, without irrigation, that you can harvest in Brazil. We saw a growing success with corn that would continue to accelerate. Brazil already had the same soybean yield as the US, and with corn as a second crop, they can use the same ground, same machinery and get the benefit of two crops.
What Rastetter was seeing was the transformation of the middle-north section of Mato Grosso state into the largest grain producing region in the country — a movement which started in the late 1980s with an intensification of settlement.
The vast tropical savannah of Brazil, spreading across Goias, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins and into Minas Gerais, was known for poor soil fertility, even though it is perhaps the most biologically rich regions in the world with some 10.000 plant species. Developing the Mato Grosso region, sustainably, has been a major Brazilian project over the past decades — and Fiagril has been at the heart of it.
The target for ethanol? As Rastetter explained to us — it’s neither the export market nor the traditional vehicle bastion of Brazil around the centers like Rio or Sao Paulo. Think north — think of the growth in the cities nearer the Amazon region.
“If you look at Brazil,” Rastetter said, “it’s a smaller market than the US with around 6.5 billion gallons compared to 15 in the US, but there is 27.5% blending and every car is flex-fuel and can burn up to 100 percent ethanol, so cars are allowed to choose, and that way you can flex the demand. But last year, the country imported 500M gallons into the Amazon [because the production is far to the south]. We’re a far northern plant, and that’s our market.”
What about distiller’s grains? Not a factor in sugarcane ethanol, but a critical factor in corn ethanol. Worth noting that Brazil Foods has modern pork and chicken facilities right there, and a number of hog operations and significant cattle. READ MORE
Iowa Helps Ethanol Plant In Brazil (WHOTV; includes VIDEO)
Corn Ethanol Launched in Brazil: Iowa-Based Company Begins Ethanol Production in Brazil (DTN The Progressive Farmer)
Iowa company breaks ground in Brazil on corn ethanol plant (Governors’ Biofuels Coalition and Iowa Farmer Today)