Brazil to export biodiesel fuel made with vegetable oil

Dec 13, 2004 01:00 AM

President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said that Brazil had become one of the first countries to mass-produce biodiesel fuel made with vegetable oil and will soon export the product.
"Today we can smile and say that Brazil was one of the first to produce an alternative, less-polluting fuel that is generating more employment with a technology our country dominates -- biodiesel," Lula said on his biweekly radio show. "We will have something to be used not only within Brazil to generate jobs... (and) riches, and to distribute income, but also a fuel to export," he added.

According to Lula, environmentally friendly fuels will be in great demand worldwide after the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, mandating all nations to decrease emissions of gases that contribute to global warming, especially those emitted by automobiles.
Earlier, the government established regulations for the mass production, distribution and marketing of biodiesel fuel throughout the country. According to the regulation, distributors are to begin adding a small percentage (2 %) of biodiesel to each litre of petroleum-derived diesel fuel they sell beginning in February 2005.

Biodiesel, a fuel that pollutes less because it is natural in origin and biodegradable, is part of the Brazilian government's policy to promote the production of alternative fuels derived from the oils of vegetables like the castor-oil plant, palm, sunflower, soy and dende (orange palm oil).
To guarantee supplies, the government is offering incentives for the mass cultivation of oil-producing plants in different parts of the country, where some private projects are also already underway.

On his radio program, Lula said he hoped the Brazilian automobile industry would soon begin manufacturing vehicles that run exclusively on biodiesel, just as it already produces cars fuelled by alcohol made from sugar cane, another alternative source of energy. Lula added that the program would promote the development of arid regions in the northeast, where castor-oil plants and palms are already being grown.
"The government made a decision to develop Brazil's poorest regions. I have no doubt that, in a few years, we will be very happy because north-eastern Brazil will finally stop being the country's poorest area," Lula said of the region in which he was born.

Mining and Energy Minister Dilma Rousseff, who appeared on the radio program as a guest, said plantations with crops that produce oil will become more important than oil fields.
"The time will come when all trucks, tractors, transportation systems and vehicles will run on diesel produced not in oil wells but on plantations," she insisted. Rousseff also said that the project would allow Brazil to save millions of dollars on imported diesel, one of the fuels the country purchases in the largest quantities abroad.
"In 2005, we probably would have imported 4 bn litres of diesel. Now we're going to use 800 mm litres of biodiesel produced here to reduce imports," she explained.

Source: EFE via COMTEX
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