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sustainability

The second generation is arriving

Bioflex 1 in Alagoas State: ethanol produced from sugarcane bagasse and straw

GranBioBioflex 1 in Alagoas State: ethanol produced from sugarcane bagasse and strawGranBio

The first commercial-scale, second-generation ethanol plant in Brazil started up operations in September 2014 in the city of São Miguel dos Campos, state of Alagoas. The facility, owned by the Brazilian company GranBio, is still implementing and improving its production systems, and has started producing ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and the straw that is left behind after the harvest. Its ethanol production process, called hydrolysis, breaks down plant cell walls and uses enzymes to extract sugars from cellulose. The sugars are then transformed into ethanol during the fermentation of sugarcane juice with yeast, in a manner similar to that employed in the first-generation process. The plant, called Bioflex 1, has a production capacity of 82 million liters of ethanol per year. Foreign companies also contributed to the technology used at Bioflex 1, including the Dutch company DSM, which supplied yeast, and Novozymes, the Danish company that supplied enzymes for the hydrolysis. Italy-based Beta Renewables is responsible for the industrial systems used to pre-treat the sugarcane biomass. GranBio invested $265 million to build the facility, with the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) contributing an additional R$300 million. The company also maintains a Synthetic Biology Research Center for studies on microorganisms, biomass processing, and hydrolysis in the city of Campinas, São Paulo State.

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