Ethanol and Sugar

Ethanol and Sugar

Brazil is home to the world's largest sugar and ethanol business.

Sugar and ethanol are produced from sugar cane in Brazil. The sugar cane is harvested and then crushed to extract the juice. The juice is then refined into granular sugar or is fermented to produce ethanol.

Ethanol is a biofuel.

The term biofuel describes a transport fuel which can be used in place of gasoline or diesel. Ethanol can replace gasoline and biodiesel can replace diesel. Biofuel is derived from plant material, and hence is a renewable, sustainable fuel.

Ethanol is derived from plant material and is no different to alcohol produced for human consumption.

Ethanol in Brazil is produced from the fermentation of sugar cane, and follows a similar process to the production of rum - although on a much larger scale. Ethanol is used to power a standard gasoline engine in blends of up to 30% ethanol, 70% petrol. However, in a slightly modified engine, 100% ethanol can be used.

Brazil leads the world in the production of engines designed to use ethanol, known as 'flex fuel' engines. These are produced by all major car manufacturers in Brazil and currently comprise over 85% of all new car sales in Brazil.

Flex fuel vehicles can use 100% gasoline, 100% ethanol, or any blend of the two fuels. The fuel delivery infrastructure in Brazil is highly sophisticated and service stations offer dedicated pumps for ethanol and gasoline. Customers with flex fuel cars can choose which fuel to use to fill their vehicles based on price or preference. It is important to note however, that in Brazil even the gasoline contains between 20% and 25% ethanol - therefore every driver in Brazil uses a minimum of 20% ethanol to power their vehicle even if they do not have a specific flex fuel car.