The number of graduates in courses related to the wind sector has been showing a significant growth such as in civil engineering courses (4.5% increase), electrical engineering (7.3% increase), control engineering and automation (40.6% increase) and electronics engineering (46.6% increase); essential professionals for the development of the country.
Courses related to the biofuels area has also grown substantially. From 2001 to 2011, a total average of 175% growth and a yearly CAGR (compound annual growth area) of 87% were registered. More specific courses related to the subject were established throughout the years, such as Organic Chemistry, Sugar and Ethanol Technology. This growth represents increasing interest coming from students and companies to absorb the labor force. The workforce available has more than twice its size compared to ten years ago, having a total increase of 109% (considering the new courses) and a CAGR of 150%.
The largest electricity market in Latin America and a diverse energy matrix full of opportunities
Brazil has the largest electricity market in Latin America, with a total installed capacity of 127 GW and 3,055 generation sites in operation. Renewable energy sources dominate the national electricity matrix, with hydropower accounting in 2012 for 75% of the country’s power generation.
In order not to be so dependent on hydroelectric generation and compensate hydropower output drops, the government is focused on diversifying its generation matrix through the potential of other renewable resources such as biomass, wind and solar power. Among these sources, wind energy has become an attractive alternative, not only because of its more competitive prices versus solar power, thermal power, and cogeneration power plants, but also because of its complementarity to hydropower. Not to mention that the wind quality in Brazil is one of the best in the world, and enhances the efficiency of the eolic generation parks.
Considering its green and sustainable vocation, Brazil is also an important player in the biofuel production. Worldwide biofuels are drawing increasing attention as an alternative source for petroleum-derived transportation fuels, to help tackle issues such as energy costs (by reducing oil imports), energy supply independence (due to relative abundance of feedstock in all regions), and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with liquid fossil fuels. Brazil is one of the largest and most attractive markets for ethanol and bioethanol. It is the second largest ethanol producer in the world, with 390,000 gallons per day as well as the second largest consumer with 332,000 gallons per day. Given the Brazilian highest yielding and least expensive ethanol fuel supply worldwide, Brazil is an attractive country for investments.
The renewable energy sector is very relevant to the Brazilian energy matrix, having a high contribution to the total energy production in the country. According to the National Energy Balance, the share participation reached 42.4% in 2012 which was significantly higher than global averages, calculated in 13.2% by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Brazil has become a strategic participant in the global wind power industry, with almost 150 wind farms installed, totaling 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity in 2013. According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Brazil is currently one of the most attractive wind power markets for investments and business development in Latin America, because of its wind potential and local energy demand.
Brazil has the potential to become a regional wind supply hub for Latin America, taking advantage of the market potential and the climate similarities of its neighboring countries.
As previously mentioned, Brazil is considered one of the largest and most attractive markets for ethanol and bioethanol. It is the second-largest ethanol producer in the world as well as the second-largest consumer. Brazilian ethanol is produced from sugarcane, making the total arable land in the country an important asset for the continuous expansion, combined with a favorable climate in several states. In terms of primary use, about 81% of the ethanol produced was used for fuel (19 million m³), aligned with the incentives provided by the government to favor ethanol instead of fossil fuels.
A comparison between the two major global players in ethanol, the United States and Brazil, drew some interesting conclusions about Brazil´s competitiveness, proving that Brazil has an advantage: ethanol productivity in Brazil was 727 gallons per acre (versus the US´s 321 gallons/acre), while the cost of production was US$ 0.83/gallon (against the US´s 1.14/gallon). Flex-fuel cars are allowing a large demand in the market: 3.2 million flex-fuel vehicles were sold in Brazil in 2012 (11% growth over 2011), accounting for 88% of the light-vehicle fleet.
It is expected that domestic ethanol consumption will reach more than 60 billion liters per year in 2021, generating greater demand for R&D investments to improve fuel performance.
Brazil´s ethanol market continues to evolve, with the major players increasing investments on production and technology innovations. The opportunity for the second generation of ethanol technology development -bioethanol, derived from lignocellulose, a complex molecule consisting of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, obtained from bagasse or straw - still depends on the development of better technologies through R&D.
Companies convinced of Brazil's potential
Amyris was created in 2003 in the San Francisco Bay Area by a group of scientists at the University of California/Berkeley. The engagement in chemical activities covers a variety of markets that includes lubricants, cosmetics, plastics, personal care, and fuels. Amyris do Brasil was established in São Paulo, Brazil in 2008.
The Brazilian subsidiary is responsible for supervising the scale-up, licensing, production, and distribution in the country. Driven by the environmentally friendly innovation and Brazil’s potential to produce sugar cane, a relatively cheap and abundant raw material, it decided to implement laboratories and to partner with local companies in order to create innovative solutions both from sugarcane syrup and biomass.
In Brazil, where the Amyris’ Diesel is known as “Sugarcane Diesel”, the company’s fuel is being used daily by approximately 300 public buses in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Until now, these buses have registered over 10 million kilometers running with a blend of Amyris Renewable Diesel. According to the company, partnerships with other companies in Brazil have resulted in tests that “show a significant reduction in the emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, with as little as 10% blends of Amyris Renewable Diesel in standard low sulfur diesel”.
LS9 is a biofuels and biochemical company headquartered in South San Francisco, California, that was recently acquired by REG Life Sciences. In 2012, LS9 inaugurated a demonstration plant in Florida (US) to increase and test its production, and is expected to have a new plant in Brazil and the first laboratory outside the United States, in the city of Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil.
The Brazilian government motivating the development of the Renewable Energy sector
Sugarcane-Energy and Sugar-Chemical Innovation Supporting Plan (PAISS)
The Sugarcane-Energy and Sugar-Chemical Innovation Supporting Plan (PAISS), is a joint initiative by BNDES and FINEP created to foster R&D, the production and commercial projects for new industrial technologies aimed at processing sugarcane biomass, related to three thematic lines: cellulosic ethanol (bioethanol), new products from sugarcane and gasification.
PAISS is considered to be a very successful effort: after the approval of business plans, 42 projects were generated, comprising a portfolio of approximately US$ 1.6 billion – a very significant metric, given that the original budget for PAISS was US$ 0.5 billion. PAISS has also triggered investments in large-scale commercial plants that will transform Brazil into a major worldwide producer of bioethanol and renewable chemicals in the near future.
Due to the planned investments after PAISS, the estimate for bioethanol production will reach nearly 170 million liters per year by 2015, turning Brazil into a major player in the global race for bioethanol technology, placing the country ahead of Europe (114 million liters per year), second only to United States (834 million per year).
Investment Maintenance Program (PSI)
In order to provide incentives to the production, acquisition, and export of capital goods and technological innovation, BNDES has launched in 2009 the Investment Maintenance Program (PSI) comprising the several sub-programs, from incentives on acquisition of machines and equipment to efforts to promote capital good exports.
For R,D&I activity-support in ethanol, two programs that are particularly relevant:
Technology Fund (FUNTEC)
The Technology Fund, (FUNTEC) aims to finance development and innovation projects that meet the government’s strategic guidelines. The fund encourages partnerships between companies and study centers to generate R&D. FUNTEC is broadly used across many sectors. For biofuels, it supports Bioenergy (includes bioenergy, solar energy and thermal energy).
Sectorial Funds for Science and Technology (CT-Agro, CT-Bio)
FINEP promotes economic and social development by fostering innovation in public companies, universities, technological institutes, and other public or private institutions, and finances studies and projects under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI). FINEP’s Sectorial Funds support biofuels projects.
The specific Sectorial Funds designed to the Sugar and Ethanol sectors are:
The "Inova" Energy initiative includes promoting hybrid vehicles and vehicle energy efficiency, which applies to sugar and ethanol production in three ways:
Key institutes and research centers developing advanced studies
Some of the key institutes, research centers and organizations focused on wind energy are:
Brazilian Wind Energy Center
The Brazilian Wind Energy Center (CBEE) is a research center focused on wind power, located at the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) in the Northeast region of Brazil. It is a member of the World Wind Energy Institute (WWEI) and recognized worlwide as a center of excelence. CBEE’s main objectives are:
Center for Renewable Gas Technologies and Renewable Energy
The Gas Technology Center (CTGAS), created in 1999 as a result of a partnership between Petrobras and SENAI, expanded its focus and was renamed as Gas Technology and Renewable Energy Center (CTGAS-ER, Centro de Tecnologia do Gás e Energias Renováveis). The center is located in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state, and has an area of more than 14,000 square meters. Its facilities includes 12 service laboratories and 13 teaching laboratories for professional education, technological development, and technological support services to the natural gas, wind and solar industries as well as to small hydropower centrals.
Wind Energy Center
The Wind Energy Center (CE-EÓLICA) was created by the PUC-RS, through the knowledge obtained from specific activities performed by the Technological Center for Energy and Environment (NUTEMA), registered in CNPq research groups since 1997. The institute in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul state has high-quality wind laboratories, infrastructure, and research equipment, technological development, and service provisions. Its partners include Enersud, Eletrobrás, Deucam, Anemos, and Barlovento Recursos Naturales.
Group of Energy Processing and Control
The Group of Energy Processing and Control (GPEC), created in 1995, is part of the Department of Electrical Engineering (DEE) of the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) and aims to research and develop power electronics. The GPEC proposes technological solutions for industrial and service sectors, working with industries, electric power companies, and research institutes in Brazil and abroad.
Specifically in the wind sector, GPEC had a team of 8 researchers in 2014 working on an impact assessment of wind farms in the electric system of Ceará state in partnership with Energetic Company of Ceará (COELCE), a local power distribution utility.
The COPPE-GUODIAN Wind Energy Technology Center
The Coordination of Post-graduate Engineering Program (COPPE) is located at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Regarding the wind power sector, the COPPE Institute is implementing the Center COPPE-Guodian of Wind Energy Technology with an estimated budget of US$ 13.5 million. This new research and innovation center is being developed by UFRJ in partnership with the Chinese University of Guodian. COPPE will provide an area of 1,500 square meters for laboratories and offices, and the Rio de Janeiro state government will grant areas with appropriate wind conditions to conduct large wind turbine testing.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
UFRJ has the laboratory of fluid mechanics and aerodynamics (PEM), focused on developing new materials for the renewable energy sector, the central reference for wind and solar energy (CRESESB) which belongs to the research center of Eletrobras (CEPEL), with whom the Polytechnic School has a strong interaction, keeping R&D partnerships and education & training activities.
Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUC/RS)
Besides the graduate and post-graduate courses, the college has the power electronics laboratory, which develops R&D projects in the wind sector. On the same campus there is also the Technological and Scientific Park (TECNOPUC), which stimulates R&D activities in several sectors and hosts 101 organizations, including the Core of Materials Technology (NUTEMA) and the Wind Energy Center (CE -Wind), which develop different R&D projects related to new technologies for wind turbines, power grid connections and wind resources measurement.
Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE)
In addition to the graduate and post-graduate courses, there are also installed on the same campus, the Brazilian Center for Wind Energy (CBEE), the Power Systems Digital Laboratory and the Group of Power Electronics and Electrical Drives.
Federal University of Ceará (UFC)
In addition to the undergraduate and graduate courses, the Center has a Group of power and control processing, which has a team of eight professionals who conduct R&D activities on several topics in the wind sector.
Six research centers are considered to have the most advanced studies for both bioethanol and biodiesel. Some centers deal only with bioethanol and others with both.
CNPAE is EMBRAPA’s specific research center for bioenergy. EMBRAPA is the Brazilian Company of Agricultural Research and is known to be one of the most comprehensive research centers and innovative institutions in the agricultural area, with a diverse range of specific centers strategically located in different areas of Brazil. CNPAE is located in Brasília, Federal District, and is usually called EMBRAPA Agroenergia, or Bioenergy EMBRAPA. CNPAE’s mission is to facilitate innovative technology solutions for sustainable and equitable development of the bioenergy business in Brazil through the generation, adaptation, and knowledge and technology transferring.
Institute for Technological Research (IPT)
The São Paulo Institute for Technological Research (IPT), is linked to the Department of Economic Development, Science, and Technology of the State of São Paulo. As one of the largest research institutes in Brazil, IPT has laboratories and a skilled team of researchers and highly qualified technicians, working basically in four major areas: innovation, research, and development; technological services; development and metrological support; and information and education technology. IPT operates in the development of new technologies for solving bottlenecks and optimizing technologies for first and second-generation ethanol production. The Institute has projects comprised of the development of other biofuels using renewable raw materials through biotechnology, such as biodiesel and buthanol. The Institute has an adequate infrastructure for different volumes of bioreactors (0.5 to 100 litters), steam explosion system, and analytical support for parameters collection of the processes.
National Laboratory of Bioethanol Science and Technology (CTBE)
The National Laboratory of Bioethanol Science and Technology (CTBE), is an RD&I institute in the area of ethanol, located in the city of Campinas. CTBE was created to contribute to Brazil's continued leadership in the production of bioethanol. The Institute has approximately 9,000 square meters of built area, divided into laboratories and plants, to conduct scientific experiments and escalation processes of interest to the sugarcane industry. This includes about 130 professionals, comprised of biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers, and technicians, who develop works related to the sector.
Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC)
The Sugarcane Technology Center (CTC), was created in 1969 as an initiative of a group of farmers in Piracicaba, 160 km far from the city of São Paulo, in order to invest in the development of more productive varieties and add quality to the production of sugar and alcohol. In recent years, the CTC was restructured with the goal of becoming the leading global center for the development and integration of disruptive technologies in the sugarcane industry, comprising two large areas of activity: genetic improvement and new technologies.
Technological Institute of Paraná (TECPAR)
The Technological Institute of Paraná (Tecpar), was created in 1940 in the city of Curitiba, State of Paraná. Besides two units in the city of Curitiba, Tecpar has other units in Araucária, Jacarézinho and Maringá, comprising four research centers: Engineering and Smart Systems, Strategic Studies, Industrial Metering, Technological Assay and Energy – the latter with developing research in biofuels. The Energy Center conducts applied research in the area of biofuel and quality control of biofuels and fossil fuels, accordingto the rules settled by ANP. It also conducts physic and chemical tests on biodiesel, diesel, vegetable oils and fats, biomass, charcoal, lubricating oils, fuel oils, ethanol, gasoline and unconventional materials.
Center for Strategic Technologies of the Northeast (CETENE)
Created in 2005 in the city of Recife, Pernambuco state, the Center for Strategic Technologies of the Northeast (CETENE), has, specifically in biofuels research, core research and development laboratories in Recife, and the Center for Bioenergy in the city of Caetés. The center also has an infrastructure to develop studies with both bioethanol and biodiesel. One of its main objectives is to strengthen the production chain, mainly with the development of biodiesel solutions. The search for different raw materials for biodiesel production is also important in CETENE.
Considering the bioethanol center, its objective is to develop its own transformation technology from sugarcane to alcohol, processing second-generation bioethanol, and to continue with the studies in bioethanol area. Its laboratory has qualified personnel for the development of new protocols in large scale and a biodiesel plant, with a nominal production capacity of 2,000 liters of biodiesel per day. The plant has recently automated its production process and a route change was implemented to allow the production to use ethanol instead of methanol as a raw material. The biodiesel produced is being tested in engines, such as in buses and trucks that are used for transportation.
University of São Paulo (ESALQ)
Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture- (ESALQ) is the first higher education institution in Brazil to surpass the mark of 10,000 agronomists. These partnerships and potential for international research make the school a strong partner for companies and research centers to work with.
The innovation infrastructure available in ESALQ is one of the most complete in Brazil with 130 laboratories in a range of different specialties. The university also counts with an active research center, theCenter for Advanced Studies on Applied Economics (CEPEA) which produces studies, researches and dissemination of information related to agribusiness value chain – from production to economic impacts.
University of São Paulo (EEL)
The Engineering School of Lorena (EEL) is the single unit of USP in the Paraíba Valley, located in Lorena City in the state of São Paulo. EEL has become notorious for its research in second generation ethanol, being recognized by Petrobras through “Antonio Seabra Moggi Engineer Technology Award” due to research on economic evaluation of second generation ethanol production. This award was given in the Energy Technology category, which includes studies aimed at the rational use of existing energy sources or the development of renewable energy alternatives.
EEL has its own Department of Biotechnology to promote research in many areas including biofuels. The Department conducts research covering the biomass conversion plant and applied microbiology. The studies address the development of chemical processes, enzymatic and fermentation aimed at producing major industrial inputs such as ethanol. The Department still counts with the Microbiology and Biochemistry Group, a specialized selection of doctorate level researchers of the university.
University of Campinas (UNICAMP)
Besides being a reference in biofuel-related courses, UNICAMP also provide graduate course in the same area. The specific graduate courses directed to biofuels are Agricultural Engineering and Chemistry. The university also has several centers of specific studies that are coordinated by Coordination of Centers and Groups of Interdisciplinary Research (COCEN) – some directly related to biofuels.
State University of São Paulo (UNESP - FCAV)
The State University of São Paulo (UNESP) offers numerous laboratories with latest generation equipment, such as the Brazilian Center for Gene Storage - BCC Center, teaching laboratories, classrooms, library, agro meteorological station, and other installations.
The university also offers modern equipment for students and researchers to undergo the necessary studies with such specialized Equipment Park. With last generation equipment, the university has partnerships with companies in the agribusiness area to promote and develop sugarcane culture, plantation and processing.
Federal University of Viçosa (UFV)
The Federal University of Viçosa was originated from the College of Agriculture and Veterinary (ESAV), created in 1922. UFV has extensive infrastructure for the research and development of biofuels with research centers, laboratories, experimental stations and a biotechnology institute.
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) was created in 1920 under the name of Rio de Janeiro University. UFRJ counts with a range of laboratories and technological infrastructure that can support R&D and innovation. The main laboratories belong to the Coordination of Engineering Graduate Programs (COPPE). Another important technology center is the Chemistry Institute, created in 1959, with 5 departments that develop biofuels-related research.
The Latin American laboratory aims to test the local raw material and perform technological demonstrations of the fuel and materials used. One of the reasons that drove LS9 to choose Brazil as the market and place for research is related to Brazilian natural resources availability, with a wide range of raw materials that can be used and easily obtained. Another reason is the government policies addressing fuels and climate change.