L-R: Adhemar Altieri, UNICA’s Corporate Communications
Director, and Helmut Brunner, Bavaria Minister of Food,
Agriculture and Forestry (Photo UNICA)
In Bavaria, the largest state in Germany, a 10% ethanol blend with gasoline, the so-called E10, is already recognized as a necessary and positive measure to diversify the country’s energy matrix according to the state’s Minister of Food, Agriculture and Forestry, Helmut Brunner. He detailed the progress being made since the introduction of E10 in Germany during a visit by 25 representatives of Bavarian companies and organizations to the headquarters of the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) in São Paulo on March 6.
"After the initial controversy, we observe that now consumers already accept E10," said Brunner. UNICA’s Corporate Communications Director, Adhemar Altieri, who welcomed the group, recalled that when the ethanol-gasoline blend was introduced in Germany, in January 2011, the new fuel caused an adverse reaction among German consumers which triggered numerous calls by German media outlets to UNICA in search of more information about the use of ethanol as a fuel.
|"Because of the lack of information, many in Germany believed that the use of E10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, could damage their vehicles, which generated a lot of confusion and concern among drivers. In Brazil, ethanol blended with gasoline has been the norm for decades, and there is no record of technical problems or significant damage to engines as feared by the Germans,” he explained. Altieri recalled that Volkswagen, Germany’s largest automaker, which pioneered the adoption of flex-fuel technology in Brazil in 2003, also played an important role in producing vehicles that ran exclusively on ethanol during the 1980’s.
In his presentation to the German delegation, Altieri detailed the overall scenario of ethanol, sugar and bioelectricity production in Brazil. The visitors from Bavaria expressed interest in the success of flex-fuel technology in the country, the expansion of sugarcane fields to increase production and the growing presence of foreign capital in the Brazilian sugarcane industry.
Helmut Brunner (right): Bavaria needs to promote the use of ethanol (Photo: UNICA)
Energy Matrix Diversification
Germany intends to increase the share of renewable sources in its energy matrix from the current 16% to 80% by 2050. Today, about 22% of the energy consumed in the country is provided by nuclear plants, a percentage that in Bavaria surpasses 50%. The Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, which took place in 2011 after a severe earthquake hit the Japanese coast, led the German government to review its energy policy and announce the closing of 17 nuclear plants in the country over the next ten years.
"Germany is moving away from nuclear energy and of course, renewable energy will play an important role in this," said Brunner. The measure, he recalled, is also part of the requirements contained in Europe’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Legislation in the European Union requires that, by 2020, renewable energy must make up at least 20% of overall European energy consumption and 10% of each Member State's energy use in the transport sector.
Europe’s plans came up in a recent meeting between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 6 in Hannover. The Brazilian head of state led a delegation of over 200 business leaders, entrepreneurs and representatives from a variety of organizations, with the intention of securing cooperation agreements with German counterparts in science and technology, as well as partnerships involving educational institutions in both countries. While in Hannover, the group also attended CeBIT, the world's largest trade fair showcasing digital information technology and telecommunications solutions for home and work environments. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), taking place on June 13-22, 2012 in Brazil, was also addressed by the two leaders during the meeting.
The Bavarian delegation learned about the economic, environmental and social benefits of sugarcane-based products at UNICA headquarters (Photo UNICA)