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Introduction B C Apoio: 0 US-Brazil Biofuels Symposium Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida October 9-10, 2011 Mitigation of Environmental Impacts.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction B C Apoio: 0 US-Brazil Biofuels Symposium Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida October 9-10, 2011 Mitigation of Environmental Impacts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction B C Apoio: 0 US-Brazil Biofuels Symposium Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida October 9-10, 2011 Mitigation of Environmental Impacts Caused by Sugar Production: A Comparison between Brazil and the United States 1 Alice do Carmo Precci Lopes & Larissa Dutra Brambila 1 Universidade Federal de Viçosa (students) & University of West Florida (exchange students) Sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity A comparison between Brazil and U.S. Final Considerations Figure 1 - The process of ethanol production at an integrated cane-processing facility (Source: UNICA, 2011). From sugarcane can be generated three main products: sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity. The ethanol can be anhydrous, blended with gasoline; and hydrous, fuel for vehicles that are moved by 100% ethanol. About the bioelectricity, originated from sugarcane bagasse, it is used to feed the sugarcane mills; the remainder is sold for Power Company, which sells this electricity for the population. Briefly, the sugarcane process can be describe as plantation, harvest, sugarcane crush, sugar production or/and ethanol production and bioelectricity generation. A scheme of this process in shown in Figure 1. (1) Emission of gases such as CO, CH 4, NO X and N 2 O due to the archaic process of burning the sugarcane before harvest. As consequence of this, is can intensify the climate change and can contribute for the formation of tropospheric ozone, which is toxic for human beings. The CO 2 is also emitted during the burning process, however it is absorbed for the cane during its growth, does not contributing for the global warming. (2) Usage of large amounts of water due to irrigation and cleansing of the cane to remove dirt as well as ash and soot from the burn process. (3) Contamination of groundwater and surface water due to the overuse of chemical fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides during the farming of the sugarcane. (4) Soil compaction by heavy machinery traffic during the planting and harvesting of the tillage. (5) Intensive consumption of diesel oil on the stages of planting, harvesting and transport. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that sugarcane is essential for humans as well as brings renewable energy which avoids the usage of fossil fuels, which are finite and highly polluting. Sugarcane farming has been shown to be profitable, both in the United States and Brazil. Due to the global warming and the demand for renewable energy, sugarcane can be used not only to produce sugar, but also ethanol (from cellulose or from sucrose) and bioelectricity, renewable energy sources that can be sold for Power Companies and used in the sugarcane mills. In United States, the usage of sugarcane is destined for sugar production mainly. The residues of sugar production are used in the sugarcane mills, which can lessen the environmental impacts. In Brazil, besides the sugarcane mill’s supply, these alternative source of fuels are also commercialized. In order to minimize the environment impact due to the sugarcane cultivation, some steps are being taken by United States and Brazil. A comparison between this two countries is shown below (Table 1). 1 Based on São Paulo laws, the Brazilian state that most produces sugarcane in the country. 2 Based on Florida Crystals’, which has the largest biomass power plant in North America and one of the largest in the world. Brazil 1 United States 2 Integrated facility for the production of ethanol and sugar from sugarcane. Conducting research and development of cellulosic ethanol to make fuel out of sugarcane fiber and other wood waste. Generation of bioelectricity, supplying the mills demand and selling the excess for Power Company. Generation of bioelectricity, supplying the mills demand and also homes electrical needs Farming of saccharine sorghum in areas of reform of the sugarcane plantation. Rotation of sugar cane with rice (restores the soil fertility, kills unfriendly burrowing nematodes and provides a rich habitat for many species of wading birds). Establishment of laws specifically for sugarcane tillage in order to protect the environment. Certified – CarbonFree. Reuse of water to wash the cane to remove dirt, as well as ash and soot: When the water cannot be reused anymore, this water is incorporates to the vinasse, in order to generate fertigation. Usage of filtering marshes to treat phosphorus runoff. Retrain manual cane cutters displaced by the total mechanization of the sugarcane harvest, expected to be completed by Table 1 – Sustainable practices in sugarcane field: a comparison between Brazil and U.S. In a simplistic analysis, sugarcane production is becoming more sustainable, both in U.S. and Brazil. There are some environmental impacts that are inevitable; however, strategies are being developed by sugarcane companies and governments to promote greater sustainability. This research examined only a few sugarcane companies; therefore it cannot be generalized that sustainable practices are being applied by most producers in either Brazil or the USA. Environmental Impacts Every human activity leaves a scar on the environment. As some negative impacts derived from sugarcane farming, it can be cited: This work, in a first analysis, has as a main objective to describe the environmental impacts of the sugarcane production and what is being done by United States and Brazil to achieve a sustainable level of farming. The following issues will be studied in order to understand better what are the hurdles faced by United States in regarding to the ethanol production from sugarcane. Abstract


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