U.S., Brazil collaborating on biofuels


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), the largest energy company in Latin America, are working together to accelerate the development and international commercialization of biofuels.

The announcement was made Nov. 20 at the International Biofuels Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“By bringing Brazilian expertise together with some of the leading U.S. biofuels researchers at NREL, we will increase our knowledge and be able to more quickly commercialize renewable biofuels in the global marketplace,” said National Renewable Energy Laboratory Director Dan E. Arvizu.

What they do. The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory conducts research and development related to technoeconomic, environmental and sustainability evaluation of advanced biofuels.

Petrobras’ research and development center conducts research on bagasse to ethanol, vegetable oil conversion to diesel oil components (H-Bio) and production of biomass-derived petroleum-like fuels using thermochemical technologies.

“The use of residues can substantially increase ethanol production without a correspondent increase of the planted area, boosting the existing process’ production by using its own residues,” said Petrobras’ Carlos Tadeu da Costa Fraga.


The agreement identifies four major areas of advanced biofuels research collaboration: biochemical production processes, thermochemical processes, economic and sustainability analysis from lignocellulosic biomass and evaluation of intermediate blends of ethanol and gasoline.

Objectives of the collaborative research are to:

• Improve biomass compositional analysis and biochemical conversion performance measurement quality control and assessment methods.

• Advance biomass pyrolysis oil production, characterization and upgrading processes for production of diesel and jet fuel.

• Expand and enhance integrated models for technoeconomic evaluation of advanced biofuels systems with attention to environmental and sustainability considerations.

• Share data and information on the evaluation of intermediate blends.


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