Print version ISSN 0103-4014
MACEDO, Isaias C.. The current situation and prospects for ethanol. Estud. av. [online]. 2007, vol.21, n.59, pp. 157-165. ISSN 0103-4014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-40142007000100012.
In the last 30 years, the production of ethanol from sugar cane in Brazil reached 17 million cubic meters and it is expected to achieve 35.7 million cubic meters by 2012-2013. This growth has taken place due to great technological support by means of production, imports, adaptations and internal transferences. An analysis of the different phases of this development, with the evolution of its technological parameters and the great competition of the sector, is presented in the article. Nowadays, foresights state that the sector may keep evolving with continuous improvements, but sudden technological boosts are also possible through the development of technologies directed towards a better use of the residual biomass of sugar cane (which represents about two thirds of the total biomass). Studies in progress indicate that the sugar cane contribution to energy supply may be superior and more diversified than the current one. They also affirm that this may happen together with bio-refinery development, which will result in products of higher aggregate values.
Keywords : Ethanol; Biofuel; Technological development; Bio-refinery.