Chapter 10: New Chemical Processes aimed at Sustainable Development in Brazil
Published:16 Dec 2014
T. T. Franco and R. Baldassin Jr, in Chemical Processes for a Sustainable Future, ed. T. Letcher, J. Scott, and D. Patterson, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014, ch. 10, pp. 288-314.
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Agriculture has an important role in many countries and especially in developing countries. More than 3billion people (almost half the world's population) live in rural areas, of whom 2.5billion derive their livelihoods from agriculture. Almost three-quarters of the world's added-value agricultural products are generated in developing countries, where this sector contributes substantially to their gross domestic product. Until the 1990s, agriculture was seen as a means of producing food. However, with the increase in global energy demand, plus the fact that the current oil-based economy was not able to supply a healthy, safe and sustainable way of life, it was shown that agricultural products could supply a unique set of energy and chemical alternatives in both the short and the long term. In this context, Brazil has shown that it can contribute significantly to the supplying of renewable feedstocks, bioenergy, biofuels and chemicals, and also new and sustainable technologies. The Brazilian experience with energy from renewable feedstocks started in 1970s with its national alcohol programme (Proálcool) based on sugarcane. However, it was not until the 2000s that the quantities of biofuels increased considerably and today Brazil is recognized as a world leader in this field. Not only has biofuels production increased significantly in recent years, but the production of biochemicals (organic acids, amino acids, polymers and solvents) based on sugarcane has also seen a significant growth.