Brazil and EU to Conduct Joint Research on Advanced Biofuels

Project selected in a coordinated call for proposals involves research groups from five Brazilian states and six large corporations, as well as European groups (photo: CTBE)

Under the auspices of the Horizon 2020 program, FAPESP and the European Union have announced approval of a research project designed to lead to the production of advanced biofuels.

The project “BioValue: Valorizing the Decentralized Biomass Production Chain for Advanced Biofuel Production: Development and Evaluation of Thermochemical Routes Integrated with Biomass Production” was approved as part of the coordinated call for proposals issued by the European Commission and FAPESP with Brazil’s Ministry for Science, Technology, Innovation & Communications (MCTIC) and its National Council of State Research Funding Agencies (CONFAP).

The principal investigator for the approved project is Antonio Bonomi, a researcher at Brazil’s National Bioethanol Science & Technology Laboratory (CTBE), which belongs to the National Energy & Materials Research Center (CNPEM) in Campinas, São Paulo State. The project will comply with the rules of FAPESP’s Partnership for Technological Innovation Program (PITE) and will involve researchers at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), the Campinas Agronomy Institute (IAC), the São Paulo State Technological Research Institute (IPT), FEI University Center (FEI), the Federal Universities of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Pernambuco (UFPE), Viçosa (UFV), Uberlândia (UFU), Santa Maria (UFSM) and Itajubá (UNIFEI), and the National Technology Institute (INT). Researchers from the companies Petrobras, Embraer, Boeing, Fibria, Klabin and Valmet, which will co-fund the project, are also involved.

The goals of the BioValue proposal are as follows: development of new agricultural systems, considering crop diversification and lignocellulosic waste for biofuel production; efficient logistics and processes for biomass conversion, including biochemical and thermochemical approaches; and integrated evaluation of value-chain technical, economic, environmental and social sustainability.

The BioValue project proposed by the Brazilian consortium is aligned with the research conducted by the European partner consortium BECOOL, with 14 institutions participating. Thus, it will benefit from Brazil-Europe synergies and complementarities, know-how and experience in biomass and lignocellulosic biofuel production.

According to Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz, FAPESP’s Scientific Director, “the coordinated call with the European Commission enabled us to associate research groups in five Brazilian states and six companies with intense R&D activities of their own to develop science and technology for the valorization of lignocellulose in partnership with European groups.”

“With the help of CONFAP and cooperation among the state research funding agencies of Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS), Minas Gerais (FAPEMIG), Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and Pernambuco (FACEPE), as well as FAPESP and MCTIC, we were able to assemble funding for the Brazilian research groups involved in the project. It is fundamental to recognize the efforts of these organizations to bring to fruition the coordinated call with the European program H2020 and funding for the approved project.”