Brazil to Spend More on Sugar-Cane Processing Research Work

Brazil may triple the size of a funding program for research into new sugar-cane processing technologies to as much as 3.4 billion reais ($1.7 billion).

BNDES, Brazil’s national development bank, and the research-financing agency Finep have approved 2.2 billion reais of projects and may approve another 400 million reais this year, Artur Yabe, manager of the Rio de Janeiro-based lender’s biofuels department, said May 10 in a telephone interview. The organizations mays start evaluating another 800 million reais of projects by the end of the year.

The program was announced in 2011 with a budget of 1 billion reais.

"These types of technologies are already being developed in Europe and the U.S. but they’re tailored for the biomass there," he said. "Brazilian biomass is different and requires its own technology."

Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social and Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos, as the two agencies are formally known, will disburse funds for the approved projects by the end of next year, he said. The recipients will include GranBio Investimentos SA, a local company planning the world’s second plant that produces ethanol from crop waste, as well as Bunge Ltd. and Solazyme Inc., which are building a plant that uses algae to turn sugar cane into a raw material for other chemicals.

The funds will be used for loans and grants, he said.