Development of biofuels

Brazil is one of the major producers of biofuels, especially ethanol produced from sugarcane, by fermentation of the cane juice and by the action of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

The increase in world demand for energy over the last few decades has led industrialized and emerging countries to initiate a series of research programs about new energy sources, mainly of renewable nature. Brazil enjoys the advantage of having a well-established and renowned first-generation technology for ethanol production using a low-cost raw material.

There is great interest today in the development of ethanol production processes using other raw materials such as sugarcane bagasse. This process, however, is still subject to a number of bottlenecks that require solutions.

IPT is active in the development of new technologies, solutions for bottlenecks, and the optimization of first and second generation technologies for ethanol production.

The scope of this research includes production of ethanol from lignin-cellulosic materials, starting from the bioprospection of new microorganisms and the development of cellulolytic enzymes production processes, as well as the development of processes of enzymatic hydrolysis of sugarcane bagasse.

The development of other biofuels using renewable raw materials by biotechnological means, such as biodiesel and butyl alcohol, is also a focus of IPT activities. The Institute has a suitable infrastructure with bioreactors of different volumes (0.5 to 100 liters), a steam explosion system and analytical support (liquid, gas and ion chromatographs, spectrometers and gas analysis equipment) for studying process parameters.

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