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Brazilian biofuels industry welcomes ethanol production facility

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The brazilian biofuels industry has welcomed a new player with a grand opening signalling the start of operations at FS Bioenergia, a US$115 million corn-only ethanol production facility located in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso. FS Bioenergia is the first large-scale corn ethanol production plant in Brazil and is the result of an international collaboration between Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril and US-based Summit Agricultural Group.

In its initial phase of operations, FS Bioenergia will annually process 22 million bushels of corn and produce more than 60 million gal. of corn ethanol, 6200 t of corn oil and 170 000 t of valuable feed rations for Brazil's growing livestock industry. By 2018, FS Bioenergia's second phase of operations will increase corn processing and ethanol production two fold.

FS Bioenergia will employ roughly 150 full time workers. In addition to ethanol and co-products for livestock feed, the ethanol facility will generate 60 000 megawatts of electricity to the local power grid.

FS Bioenergia's corn ethanol operation is considered a landmark project in Brazil that will deliver immediate value to the country. First, the plant will offset the country's increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can't be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production. Second, the facility will introduce to Mato Grosso valuable fibre and protein co-products known as dried distillers' grains (DDGs), which will serve as high-value feed for the expanding Brazilian livestock industry.

"This is a transformative moment for both agriculture and the renewable fuels industry in Brazil,” said Marino Franz, founder of Fiagril. "FS Bioenergia will not only meet Brazil's growing demand for ethanol but it sets the stage for Mato Grosso to become a global leader in the production of corn ethanol."

Brazil began sugar cane ethanol production in mid-1970s and today produces approximately 25% of the world's ethanol. Bank of America estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion US gal. in 2022, two-thirds greater than the 8.1 billion gal. estimated in sugar cane ethanol production in 2016. The Mato Grosso region's substantial corn production – both proven and potential – make corn-derived ethanol the most viable option to complement existing sugar cane ethanol production and fulfill an annual multi-billion gallon shortfall.

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