On January 19th 2010, the first ethanol-fired power plant whirred into action in Brazil. National oil company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) and American systems giant General Electric (NYSE: GE) pitched in resources to turn an existing 87 MW plant into a flex-fuel power station that can alternate between natural gas and ethanol (which are both considered alternative fuels, even though only one is renewable).
GE wants to see how its turbines can be adapted to work in flex-fuel plants in Brazil and in developed countries like Japan, where clean-burning power plants are gaining momentum.
Brazil’s water-dependent hydroelectric infrastructure teeters during the dry season in places where natural gas isn’t easily accessible. It just so happen that wind power peaks at the opposite time of the year as the water in running rivers that drives dam-based generation.
Ethanol and wind could supplant natural gas as the primary alternative source of electricity generation during the dry season in Brazil and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in the Brazilian press that Brazil could be selfsufficient in natural gas after several pre-salt (read: incredibly deep) offshore fossil fuel pockets are tapped.
That capacity is at least five years away. Ethanol is there now, and after wind power auctions started last December, 773 wind turbines will be turning across Brazil by 2012.
Shaw Capital Management Korea News: Shell, Petrobras, GE, and Cosan will surely push hard to get the government in Brasilia to initiate a nationwide “ethanol electricity” campaign to ensure that oil and automotive fuel aren’t the key determinants of sugar ethanol’s success.
As in so many other areas of the world, those communities that are now underserved by fossil fuels can benefit most from such clean energy advances.
The US Administration completed its revised Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). RFS2 will move towards a national goal of 26 billion gallons of biofuel production by 2022.
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