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Posted on on May 23rd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

There is no sugar versus ethanol competition in Brazil – the production of ethanol from sugar cane reduces the amount of sugar available in order to support the price of sugar. Brazil clearly does not want to see a drop in price in the global sugar market.

Those that talk about a food vs. fuel competition in Brazilian sugar agriculture that increases the price of sugar, must thus  be part of the global oil interests that hate ethanol participation in what they think is their oil-tank.

But Bloomberg knows to tell us that Brazil had harvesting delays in its sugar cane industry this year. This may lead that country to lose its Chinese market share to Thailand.

Chinese sugar imports should climb by 1 million tons this year, with Thai sugar making up the majority of it. “Brazilian producers are having to discount their sugar to be competitive,” one financial analyst told the newswire.

So, we may see here a timing problem in  harvesting sugar cane, and Brazil is ready to look at increasing its production of ETHANOL by enlisting technologies developed in Italy that can use the cellulosic material left in the Sugar Cane Bagasse.    This is called “SECOND GENERATION ETHANOL.”

Lots of doctorates were awarded in the US, and lots of basic chemistry studies performed, but US agriculture seemingly had very little interest in seeking true results from cellulosic materials digestion and fermentation to ethanol.

The Financial Times writes now that Brazil is ready to push the commercialization of such a technology in cooperation with second-generation ethanol on a commercial scale.

“Brazil’s full commercialization of cellulosic ethanol promises to double the productivity of the country’s sugar cane ethanol producers,” says the blog. This without impacting sugar production and create a reserve of ethanol for its fuel market.

Why does US agriculture not hire the Italians as well? The answer must be in the US agriculture big corporations that insist in making their ethanol from corn in order to insure higher costs to global  corn consumers. Here will come no change unless the corn equivalent of Thailand’s sugar comes into play.

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