A green pre-salt

By Erasmo Carlos Battistella

We have 60 plants and invest R$ 4 billion in energy production technology

The world attended, in the end of 2011, COP-17, the conference on climate organized by the United Nations in Durban. Everybody celebrated the auspicious result that launched the bases for a future agreement of pollutant gases emission control, involving all nations.

Unfortunately, the result of the conference, like Kyoto in 1995, might not become more than auspicious only. After all, until 2020 nothing will be achieved to control global warming, when "a protocol with legal force" must be in force, therefore, as the text of the conference in South Africa says, there has been a long time that the environmental issue is no longer a problem of the future, thus it is in the present that it seems to be inevitable, taking into account that we have not accomplished too much for its solution.

Brazil, however, has worked for that. Among several lines of action the National Plan of Production and Use of Biodiesel (PNPB) is highlighted, since 2004 it foresees the mixture of 5% of biodiesel in mineral diesel commercialized in the country. Thenceforth, a dynamic and innovative industry was formed around this important active in the future energetic matrix.

About R$ 4 billion were invested in research and development, in one industrial park composed of more than 60 plants spread all over the country, which generate 1.3 million jobs.

The scenario is a green "pre-salt", where each plant is like a platform of production surrounded by a soybean sea and other rural crops, at a cost which is lower than at the layer of fossil pre-salt and with incomparable gains of sustainability. Yet, there are risks of accidents that raw oil exploitation involves, like the ones in Campo de Frade, in the northern coast of Rio de Janeiro, exactly when the conference of UNO happened.

In the last five years the sector moved the participation of 103 thousand families of small farmers as suppliers of raw material. But what almost no one who was in Durban knows is that the path forwards is about to improve if the right steps are taken.

Brazil produces nowadays from 2.6 to 2.8 billion liters of biodiesel and consumes 200 million liters more. This performance makes us the third world producer and leader in consumption, with internal German market reduction because of the European crisis. Therefore, if we have already invested R$ 4 billion to mix 5% of biodiesel in diesel sold in the country, to reach 20% of mixture, as intended in 2020, we will invest almost R$ 30 billion. In job generation, we will reach 4.7 million of work stations. Yet, as for rural families 531 thousand will be invested. Therefore, the country does not have laws that guarantee the gradual introduction of fuel in the energetic matrix of Brazil as well as of the external market, thus today we do not export one drop of biodiesel, losing competitiveness and not contributing with the trade balance. The sector has contributed, at least, to reduce the deficit supplying part of diesel import.

In terms of benefits to the environment, human health and public health policies, the benefits of the biodiesel adoption are proved scientifically through study of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation.

The fuel emits 57% less pollutant gases than fossil diesel. With 10% of mixture, carbon dioxide emission will reduce 8%. With 20% mixed in regular diesel, it will reduce 12%.

With 5% mixed in diesel that moves buses and trucks in our roads and cities, biodiesel contributes to reduce in 12.945 the number of hospitalizations because of breath problems. With 10% mixed this reduction may reach 34.520. And, with 20% mixture this reduction may reach 77.672 less hospitalization. In the same path of mixture increase nowadays, with 5% of biodiesel in diesel, 1.838 lives are saved. With 10%, this number may reach 4.902. And, when we have 20%, Brazil will save 11.029 lives.

But while in Europe and Latin America (Argentina and Colombia) the prediction is to reach 2020 with 20% of mixture of clean fuel in diesel, the lack of legal prediction in Brazil, despite the PNPB and all institutional commitment, the annual gradual proposal of 1.5% of mixture begins to be formed in the productive sector, so that benefits are permanent and for everybody. The increasing power consumption in the world generates predictions on the need for an increase of 30% in production in the such as respect to human rights, for minorities and environment may be symptoms that humankind has lived a moment of reflection, from where it must emerge with highest values, where biodiesel may be part of this future.

ERASMO BATTISTELLA is the chairman of the Biodiesel Producers Association of Brazil - APROBIO, CEO of BSBIOS and president of the Brazilian Association of Canola Producers - ABRASCANOLA.

Source: Jornal O Globo