Essay: Biomass sources and sectors that use biomass streams

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  • Subject area(s): Environmental studies essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published on: December 24, 2015
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  • Biomass sources and sectors that use biomass streams
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Brazil offers many opportunities in the field of biomass and bio-based value chains like biofuels, bioelectricity and high-value bio-based products like biochemicals. The Dutch government has beenis supporting Dutch businesses in their efforts to enter this large market through the help of market studies, trade missions and its network of Science, Technology and Innovation Attach�� Network scientific attach��s. Consultancy Ecofys has performed this market study on behalf of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in order to provide a clear overview and concrete advice for Dutch companies and knowledge institutes interested to expand their biomass-related activities in Brazil.
Information and lessons learned were gathered through literature research complemented with interviews with Dutch and Brazilian companies with experience in the Brazilian Biobased market, as well as academic and research experts in these fields, both in the Netherlands and in Brazil. The details of the interviewees are available as an appendix. Opportunities were selected based on the needs in Brazil, and the positioning of the Netherlands (i.e. what are other countries doing in this field).
Reading guide
After a brief country profile, this report provides an overview of biomass sources (feedstocks), and then proceeds to explore the sectors that use the identified biomass streams. These sectors are bioelectricity, biofuels, other industrial uses, biogas, advanced biomaterials and waste (solid and waste water). In each of these sectors we provide a market overview, identify the main relevant policies and stakeholders, and identify opportunities for Dutch companies and knowledge organisations.
2 Brazil country profile
Brazil is South America’s most influential country, an economic giant and one of the world’s biggest democracies. Since the early 2000’s it is named as one of the world’s major emerging economies, known as the BRICS nations, together with Russia, India, China and South Africa. The official language is Portuguese which is spoken across its 267 states. These Estados are the 25 26 federal states, plus the Federal District which contains the capital city, Brasilia (see Figure 2). The president of the country is Dilma Rousseff, who has been in power since 2011 and who has started her second term (2015-2018) in January. for the past 4 years and has recently been re-elected.
Brazil’s economy is characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors and has a middle class that is rapidly expanding. Recent discoveries of offshore oil reserves have also been hailed as an opportunity for growth and attracted investment. Brazil’s biggest export partners are: China (17%), the United States (11.1%), Argentina (7.4%) and the Netherlands (6.2%). Over the last year however, the country has been plunged in an economic crisis which has affected the investment climate. In 2010, Brazil had a GDP growth rate of 7.5%, which quickly dropped to 2.5% in 2013, 0.1% in 2014, and the economy is expected to shrink in 2015. Nevertheless, thanks to a young population and a growing middle-class, on the long-term Brazil is still expanding its presence in world markets and offers many opportunities.
Renewables play an important role in Brazil’s energy mix, with hydropower accounting for about 70% of the country’s electricity consumption and biomass playing an increasingly important role (Figure 1).
Figure 1 Brazil’s final energy mix historical developments. Source: National Energy Balance 2014
In the area of agricultural and bio-based activities Brazil is a world leader. It is the world’s largest sugarcane producer, and has been the world leading ethanol producer since it started its ‘Proalcool’ ethanol fuel programme in the 70’s. Only recently has the ethanol consumption been surpassed by the USA. Furthermore, the country is a major player in the field of agriculture and forestry, and is one of the few regions in the world that provides room for growth in these areas.
Figure 2 Brazil Political divisions. Source: USDA GAIN 2014
– Uit eerder commentaar: Bij Brazil country profile had ik ook wel wat meer info verwacht over de energiemix, iets over de actuele stand van zaken en de problemen waar de Brazilianen energie gerelateerd met worstelen (oa droogte).
Nu is er een plaatje tussen geplakt maar verder inhoudelijk niets toegevoegd.
3 Availability of feedstocks
Because of its extensive agricultural land availability, Brazil is one of the world’s largest producers of agricultural commodities. It is the world’s largest sugarcane, orange juice, beef and coffee bean producer and increasingly large soybean and corn producer. With all the primary products of these crops come also large amounts of residues. A large part of these residues go unused, and however they offer the potential for being transformed into useful products such as heat, power or energy carriers for other markets as well as biomaterials. Table 1 gives an overview of the volumes estimated for the main agricultural and forestry residues. More detailed descriptions of the industries that can use these residues is given in the sections below. The geographic distribution is shown in Figure 3

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