RenovaBio program will have `great effects on the biofuel industry`

25/09/2017 - 09:14

The superintendent director of Ubrabio, Donizete Tokarski, spoke to BNamericas about the sector`s busy schedule for 2018, which includes an increase in the biodiesel percentage in the diesel mix from 8% to 10% in March 2018.

In addition, there is the energy ministry`s program for the development of the biofuels industry, called RenovaBio. "This program will have great effects on the national biofuels industry by creating new jobs, decentralizing production and giving more opportunities for other producers to participate in the biofuels sector," according to Tokarski.

BNamericas: The biofuels sector will have a busy schedule next year, with many developments. One of them is the increase in the biodiesel percentage in the diesel mix from the current level of 8% to 10%. What will be the increase in production to meet the new demand?

Tokarski: One of the most important demands of the biodiesel sector is the increase in the biodiesel percentage in the diesel mix, which was brought forward to March 2018. The law establishes a gradual increase, but in this case the decision was to bring it forward. Brazil is currently using the 8% biodiesel mix, also known as B8, and the annual production of biodiesel is about 4 billion liters. This is the expected volume for 2017. Since the mix will rise to 10%, B10 annual biodiesel production is expected to rise to 5 billion liters next year. This is one of the changes planned for the biofuels industry next year, but there are still others to come. Most of them are on the agenda of the RenovaBio program, created by the Brazilian energy ministry to help the development of the biofuels industry.

BNamericas: How will the program improve the biofuel industry in Brazil?

Tokarski: RenovaBio is not a one-fuel program, it includes ethanol, biodiesel, biogas. I believe this program will have great effects on the national biofuels industry by creating new jobs, decentralizing production and giving more opportunities for other producers to participate in the biofuels sector. This program will also contribute to the development of the country`s environmental agenda, because it will help Brazil meet its commitments of COP21. In addition, it goes in the same line as the biofuels platform that Brazil has led, called Biofuturo [Biofuture], which will be presented once again by the Brazilian government at COP23, to be held in Germany in November 2017.

BNamericas: When should the program`s new policies be implemented?

Tokarski: Our forecast is that as of June 2018 the program should start to be put into practice. We need Brazil to set its decarbonization targets for the fuel energy matrix. Regarding the legal approval, Brazil`s national energy policy council [Conselho Nacional de Política Energética, CNPE] has already approved the terms of the program and it has also indicated that RenovaBio should be implemented by means of legal acts, that is, by means of a law.

However, there are two possible paths to choose, one is the bill, which can be forwarded normally or urgently, and the other is the provisional measure, which would be written by the federal executive authority. The association believes that the provisional measure is the best way to conduct this matter, and it is likely that will happen. On the other hand, the country`s recent political turmoil has created some instability in this process.

Last week, the association met with President Michel Temer, Brazil`s energy minister [Fernando Bezerra Coelho Filho] and with the secretary of oil, gas and biofuels [Márcio Félix] to discuss this matter. We talked about the importance of measures that give greater stability to the country`s biofuels industry, which is the main purpose of the program. Today, Brazil has several ethanol production plants not running because of the lack of predictability that the industry needs. I believe that RenovaBio will establish policies to make medium and long-term reading clearer and, therefore, bring new investments to the biofuels sector.

BNamericas: What about the tests on engines for the new blend of 10% biodiesel in diesel? How have the results been so far?

Tokarski: The tests are being done by only a few companies. Several countries, such as Argentina, Colombia and the United States, already use blends that exceed 10% biodiesel. Since many of these vehicle manufacturers are also in Brazil, there is no need to test the new blend. Companies that do need to test it have to complete the analysis by February 2018. About these tests, so far we have received no criticism. In fact, in a few days we will have a meeting with the testing and analysis group, which is coordinated by the energy ministry, to make an assessment of the information that we have so far. I don`t believe we`ll have any problems. For higher mixes such as 15% and 20%, we have a longer period of testing, which should be until the end of 2018.

Por BN Americas

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