Brazil passes bill to set up RenovaBio programme to beef up biofuels industry

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Brazil’s lower house of Congress has given the green light to a bill to set up a programme to beef up the country's biofuels industry, according to a report in Reuters.

The programme, called RenovaBio, will give fuel distributors in Brazil targets to cut carbon emissions, which they will meet by selling increasing volumes of ethanol and biodiesel over the coming years.

The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate before it could be signed into law by President Michel Temer, according to Reuters.

Brazil has a plan to increase its ethanol use from 28 billion litres per year in 2015 to around 50 billion litres by 2030, under its RenovaBio programme.

More than 40% of Brazil’s energy mix is composed of renewables and the country aims to increase this to 80% by 2030.

Ethanol and bioenergy produced from sugarcane already constitute 15.7% of Brazil’s energy mix, replacing more than 40% of gasoline and avoiding 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions since the beginning of the ethanol programme in the 1970s.

Brazil has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 37% by 2025 from 2005 levels by reducing deforestation and boosting the share of renewable sources in its energy mix. It also indicated an “intended reduction” of 43% by 2030.

The news that Brazil’s lower house has passed a bill to set up the RenovaBio programme could be a lifeline to Brazilian ethanol producers struggling in recent years to compete with gasoline, according to Reuters. It could also bolster sugar prices by encouraging mills to produce more ethanol.