Brazilian Study Claims Second-Generation Biofuels are More Cost-Effective than First-Generation Biofuels

A new study from the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory that ethanol produced using waste biomass, such as dead or dying trees, is more cost-effective and could have higher benefits in the long term than conventional ethanol production.

First generation ethanol is produced using food crops such as sugarcane and corn. Meanwhile, second generation ethanol is made from waste biomass, including agricultural residues and energy crops. The researchers compared production costs and greenhouse gas emissions for 1G and 2G ethanol and also predicted future trends between 2015 and 2030. The study also quantified the economic and environmental impacts considering current and future scenarios of sugarcane biorefineries.

Their results indicate that while 2G ethanol has higher production costs than 1G in the short term, it is competitive in the long term, and investment in 2G could increase ethanol production. The team estimates that using waste biomass for ethanol production could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, which supports the commitment of the Brazilian government in its attempt to increase use of sustainable biofuels.


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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