UK, German partners demo macaúba biofuel supply chain in Brazil

By Ron Kotrba | August 06, 2020

U.K.-based biodiesel technology and equipment supplier Green Fuels and Germany-based innovative oil and carbon solutions provider INOCAS GmbH are working together to develop a sustainable fuels value chain in Minas Gerais, Brazil. 

As signatories of the Zona da Mata Biokerosene and Renewables Platform—an integrated biofuels and reforestation value chain promoted by the city of Juiz de Fora—the companies are using macaúba, a native palm tree to Brazil, the Caribbean and southern Florida, in novel intercropping and agrosilvopastoral techniques to ensure future sustainable fuel production for distributed energy and land, marine and air transport sectors.  

With the support of the U.K. government’s Prosperity Fund, Green Fuels is establishing a biofuel production plant in the Zona da Mata.

Under the new agreement, INOCAS will be provided saplings of macaúba and other native species to establish technical demonstration units in the Zona da Mata and Cerrado (savanna) biomes. The saplings will be acquired from the Viveiro Nativo nursery. Green Fuels and INOCAS expect the program to directly benefit approximately 100 small family farmers and the entire rural value chain. 

According to INOCAS CEO Johannes Zimple, macaúba averages four times more oil per hectare compared to other oilseeds. He added that macaúba also generates more jobs and can be produced in concert with other crops or in silvopastoral regimes, and that the crop adapts “to any producer,” from family farms to large agribusinesses, “reducing the effects of rural exodus,” Zimple said. “[It] can be produced in a great diversity of soil and climate [and] it has the capacity of generating more sustainable income.”

Green Fuels stated that this will be achieved “through practical measurement of parameters such as [United Nations Sustainable Development Group] compliance, biodiversity, effect of land use change and productivity to promote recovery of degraded pasture through sustainable land use, combined with environmentally sensitive reforestation, supporting the replenishment of the region’s aquifers and river basins.”

Manuel Luis M. Thompson-Flôres, CEO of Green Fuels Ventures América Latina, said, “Green Fuels will use these technical demonstration units to inform Brazilian and international stakeholders as to the macaúba production model’s sustainability, and to differentiate it from unsustainable oil crops.”

 
 
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