Winners of Annual Brazilian Bioenergy Awards announced

By Erin Voegele | September 19, 2012

Winners of this year’s Annual Brazilian Bioenergy Awards include collaborations of companies working on an algae biofuels project and a cellulosic ethanol project. The awards were announced at the 2012 World Biofuels Markets Brazil conference and exhibition on Sept. 18. See Algae Technology and Grupo JB received the Brazilian Bioenergy Innovation of the Year award for their algae biofuel project, while GraalBio, Beta Renewables, DSM and Novozymes won the Brazilian Bioenergy Deal of the Year award for their collaborative cellulosic ethanol production.

“Today we are recognizing two collaborative efforts that will make significant economic and environmental impacts across Brazil, and even the world, through the production of biofuels using the next generation feedstocks of microalgae and agricultural waste,” said Nadim Chaudhry, CEO of Green Power Conferences, organizer of the awards and conference. “With more than forty high quality entries, these awards are sending a clear signal that the Brazilian bioenergy industry is making great progress, often times through innovative collaborations, to find efficient, sustainable solutions to future global energy needs.”            

The award given to See Algae Technology and Grupo JB recognizes a major step in the development of an industrial plant that produces algae biofuels using waste CO2 sourced from a sugarcane ethanol plant, which is owned by Grupo JB. Construction on the algae facility is scheduled to begin in late 2012. The plant is expected to be operational by Sept. 2013.

See Algae Technology estimate that the algae facility will produce 1.2 million liters (317,000 gallons) of algae oil on an annual basis for conversion into biofuel. If operated with genetically engineered algae strains, the company said the same facility could produce up to 2.2 million liters of ethanol. The project will initially take in approximately 5 percent of the CO2 emissions generated by the sugarcane ethanol fermentation process.

“Winning the Brazilian Bioenergy Innovation of the Year Award proves that the marketplace believes in the groundbreaking work we are doing with Grupo JB,” said See Algae Technology CEO Joachim Grill. “By introducing an algae cultivation technology that produces renewable biofuels and algae feed at prices that are competitive with mainstream alternatives, SAT is shifting the biofuels conversation from the future to the present, from hopeful potential to actualized results. This award serves to inform the wider market that optimally produced algal biofuels can consistently yield cost—in addition to environmental—advantages over traditional fossil fuels, all without using either arable land or food crops.”

The award given to GraalBio, Beta Renewables, DSM and Novozymes recognizes the 22 MMgy cellulosic plant the group is developing in Brazil. The plant, which is expected to begin production in December 2013, will utilize the Proesa technology platform development by Beta Renewables. Novozymes will supply the enzyme technology, while DSM will supply the industrial yeast. According to information released by the conference, the GraalBio plant will be the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in South America, and represents an important milestone to the Brazilian biofuel industry.

“We are honored by this Award, and are looking forward to working closely together with GraalBio to commercialize cellulosic ethanol in Brazil,” said Steve Hartig, DSM’s vice president of bioenergy at the award ceremony.