Ethanol in Brazil

Ethanol is a useful molecule and is very desirable for how flammable and common it is. Commonly synthesized from corn, wheat, sugarcane, barley and potatoes. It's viewed commonly to be more eco-friendly than petrol or other non-green fuel sources but has many adverse effects on social circumstance of the places that produce Ethanol. Not to be confused with Methanol, which is made of wood


Brazil is the second highest producer of ethanol and the worlds largest exporter.(According to research in 2008) Brazil is a heavily agricultural based country and has developed its economy around this biofuel, so much so there is no longer any cars made that are powered by "pure" gasoline. They even have cars that are "Flex Fuel" meaning they consume 100% Ethanol and 22%. 25% Is the Legal blend at the moment, although it has frequently changed percentages around that number over the past Century, peaking at 50% during WW2.

Using the sucrose from sugarcane in Brazil Its estimated the amount of ethanol used will be 44% for sugar, 1 % for alcohol and 55% for Petrol adding up to be 24.5 billion litres.

The process used by Brazil is a fairly bulk standard routine for most ethanol producing countries. After the Sugarcane crops have been collected it is then cut up and milled. Separating the ingredients used for ethanol and bagasse to provide the electricity needed to power this production line. The milled Cane juice is put through a huge distillation process, pasteurizing, evaporating and precipitating. It is then centrifuged to separate the molasses and sugar, the sugar becomes different kinds of sugar and molasses moves onto more distillation and fermentation before becoming Ethanol. Mixing the now pure molasses with Yeast and performing another centrifuge getting the Yeast back and a highly concentrated ethanol.

After all that effort Brazil then exports 20% of its ethanol around the world which is almost equal to %50 of the worlds exports.

USA: The United States production of Ethanol comes from Corn instead of Cane Sugar, just like their sugar in coke. But the amazing thing about America is that they're using an 85% blend of ethanol against 15% petrol. Except it's not mainstream, only 5 million cars on the road can use it.

American Ethanol is more expensive(Approx. 30% more) than Brazilian ethanol because of the longer process involved. You must turn the corn into sugar before you can perform the same process as Brazil. The process of turning Corn into sugar uses Catalytic Enzymes to break down ground corn.

Australia: Land of the free is far from it, even with Ethanol the prices of petrol are very high, but the ethanol content isn't very high either or common. E 1 0(10% ethanol, 90% unleaded) And is really only easily available on the east coast. Three heavyweight industries use two methods of getting their ethanol, distilling molasses. And the other uses waste such as starch and grain.

At the moment Holden is researching and on work with an E85 vehicle like that in America. We also are researching a very promising field of getting the ethanol from Algae and in doing so not sabotaging any economical circumstance of other countries.

Positive ar2uments: The only products of an Ethanol combustion reaction is Water and C02 therefore its effect on air quality is much better than fossil fuels and we can see further than 20 meters during peak hour in the city. It is more abundant than our remaining resources. Petrol isn't the only thing running out, coal will too eventually and our electricity grids are going to rely on another source of energy as well. Ethanol spills are allot less damaging to the environment then oil spills. Offers an increased economy to rural areas that produce the corn.

Negative arguments: Working with slopped information by both arguments in mind, the ethanol sceptic's believe that it takes more energy than it's worth and more petrol has to used to create ethanol petrol. It takes 1700 gal's(6 435 L) of water to produce 1 gal(3.79 L) of ethanol. Corn uses more insecticides and other poisons meant for. It's price wouldn't be all that low, many people would compete to higher the prices, especially against a foreign market. Burning food when over half the worlds population is classed as "Starving" does have moral as well as social implications. The countries growing food would not sell their crops to their own people and instead to the US for allot more money, causing inflation in the country and causing loads of damage.


Ethanol fuel in Australia is a highly debatable topic and allot more factors applying to Australia rather than America need to be thought of before we make a decision. Factors such as if we intend to increase of Ethanol production for that purpose, where will we put the new crops? Australia is mostly desert and the parts that have fertile land are heavily fought over as it is. An increase in Ethanol in our petrol by a substantial amount means we would also need to improve a majority of Australia's cars engines and spread the distribution of ethanol petrol around the country. Australia is a country that depends on its natural resources for its economy, sadly desert sand doesn't fetch very much money. So before we think about mass ethanol usage in Australia, research needs to be done and if the Algae does become a producer it means that we can import it from other countries without starving their people. But chances are that using Algae would have some other bigger problem such as starving fish etc.

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