Biofuels Key Dates - Brazil, US, EU


Ethanol and Turpentine engine developed


Ford's first auto developed


The quadricycle ran on pure ethanol. From

Ford's Model T commercialized


The model T was capable of running on gasoline, kerosine or ethanol.

The addition of ethanol to imported gasoline was mandated by law in Brasil

Feb 20 1931

From Da Silva et. al.Chapter 2

Brasil (1931) Decreto 19.717, Obrigatoriedade da adição de álcool à gasolina de procedência
estrangeira. Rio de Janeiro, 20.2.1931

Brazilian government creates the sugar and alcohol Institute

Approx. Sept, 1931

The Institute was "created because of a developing crisis in the sugar sector over the use of sugarcane for ethanol. The IAA’s focus was to help sugarcane producers while also reducing the consumption of imported gasoline." (Da Silva et. al.)

Brazil's first forest code


Law No. 737 was passed, requiring the compulsory addition of sugarcane ethanol to all gasoline in Brazil.

Approx. 1938

"This law remains in effect even today, with different percentages of ethanol added depending on economic constraints" (Da Silva et. al.)

Decree-Law 4,722 declares the ethanol industry a national priority

Approx. September 1942

from Brazil’s Ethanol Industry: Looking Forward
By Constanza Valdes

Brazil's forest code updated


Law 4870 regulates sugarcane and alcohol production

Approx. December 1965

From Brazil’s Ethanol Industry: Looking Forward
By Constanza Valdes

Decree-Law 16 regulates alcohol production and trade

Approx. August 1967

From Brazil’s Ethanol Industry: Looking Forward
By Constanza Valdes

Planalsucar - National Program for Sugarcane Improvement established by federal law

Approx. 1971

The goal was to research and distribute industrially productive cane varieties and eliminate those which had been problematic in the 1960s. (From The Deepest Wounds: A Labor and Environmental History of Sugar in Northeast Brazil, Thomas D. Rogers)

"Planalsucar played an important role in preparing researchers to experiment with sugarcane varieties and creating a sugarcane ‘‘genetic bank’’ in Alagoas, northeast Brazil." (Da Sliva et. al)

EMBRAPA created

Approx. April 26, 1973

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) was founded on April 26, 1973, and is under the aegis of the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Supply.

Their states mission:
"Since our foundation, and with our partners from the National Agricultural Research System, we have taken on the challenge to develop a genuinely Brazilian model of tropical agriculture and livestock to overcome the barriers that limited the production of food, fiber, and fuel in our country.

This effort has helped to change Brazil. Nowadays, our agriculture is one of the most efficient and sustainable ones in the planet. We have incorporated a wide area of formerly degraded Cerrado lands into our production systems; a region that now accounts for nearly 50% of our grain production. We have quadrupled the beef and pork supply and increased the chicken supply 22-fold. These are some of the achievements that took the country from the condition of basic food importer to one of the world's largest food producers and exporters."


Oil Crisis

01 Oct 1973 - 01 March 1974

US begins to phase out leaded gasoline

Approx. 1975

Lead is replaced with MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), made with natural gas and ethanol, which was later banned because of drinking water contamination. Later replaced with ETBE, made with petroleum and ethanol. From:

Proalcool program created with decree 76,593

November 14 1975

Low sugar prices and high oil prices spur government program to incentivize the production of ethanol in Brazil with incentives and subsidies.

US Energy Tax Act


Offers a per-gallon tax credit for every gallon of ethanol blended with gasoline.

Ethanol powered cars enter Brazilian market


First model offered was the Fiat 147, with GM, Ford and Volkswagon following shortly after.

Ethanol powered cars account for 96% of new car sales in Brazil


Brazil sees massive levels of inflation


Ethanol subsidies are cut and oil prices are low. Ethanol supplies run short, turning motorists against ethanol only cars. In the following years ethanol begins to be imported from the U.S. due to insufficient production levels.

Industrial Property Law enacted

May 14, 1996

Patent law allowing patents on biotech processes used to create transgenic seeds.

Law of Protection of Cultivars

April 28, 1997

Introduction of flex-fuel cars in Brazil

March, 2003

EU Directive on the Promotion and Use of BIofuels

Approx. May 8, 2003

EU Directive on the Promotion and Use of BIofuels or Other Renewable Fuels for Transport:
"The directive called on all EU member states to encourage an indicative, non-mandatory minimum blending of biofuels in transport fuel, going from 2 percent in 2005 to 5.75 percent by 2010. The aim was to send a strong signal to industry and governments that the EU considered biofuels a long-term alternative to fossil fuel use in the transport sector, although this directive did not, at the time, include sustainability criteria for biofuels" (Stattman and Gupta 2015: 47).

National Program for the Production and Use of Biodiesel

Approx. Dec., 2004

Brazil's "biodiesel program sought to reproduce the successes of ProÁlcool with regard to fuel production capacity, along
with several social, environmental, and developmental aims in addition to energy security. These included encouraging biofuel crop diversification (rather than focusing on a single crop, such as soybeans), spreading crop production regionally (rather than concentrating on one state/geographic area), and including small-scale family farmers in biofuel crop production (rather than relying exclusively on large-scale agribusiness).26 Many of these measures
responded to perceived negative social and environmental consequences associated with ProÁlcool, such as large-scale (monoculture) sugarcane production, and concentrating production in specific regions (mainly the state of Sao Paulo)" (Stattman and Gupta 2015; 45).

US Energy Policy Act 2005

Approx. August 8, 2005

The US government establishes the EPA2005 in which renewable fuel standards were set--the first renewable fuel volume mandate in the US.

US annual ethanol production surpasses Brazil's

Approx. 2006

Brazil announces $8 billion oil discovery in "Tupi" oil field

Nov 8, 2007

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, said its Tupi field may contain as much as 8 billion barrels of oil and natural gas, an amount that could boost the country's reserves by 62 percent. The company's shares rose the most in more than nine years.

First REDD+ decision adopted at UNFCCC COP13

Approx. December, 2007

US Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA)

Dec 19, 2007

"Under the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the RFS program was expanded in several key ways:

EISA expanded the RFS program to include diesel, in addition to gasoline;
EISA increased the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into transportation fuel from 9 billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion gallons by 2022;
EISA established new categories of renewable fuel, and set separate volume requirements for each one.
EISA required EPA to apply lifecycle greenhouse gas performance threshold standards to ensure that each category of renewable fuel emits fewer greenhouse gases than the petroleum fuel it replaces."

EU Renewable Energy Directive established

April 23, 2009

The Renewable Energy Directive establishes an overall policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources in the EU. It requires the EU to fulfill at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020 – to be achieved through the attainment of individual national targets. All EU countries must also ensure that at least 10% of their transport fuels come from renewable sources by 2020.

Brazil ends tariff on ethanol import

Approx. April 2010

Brazil's 20% tariff on ethanol imports was removed.

End of US ethanol tariff and production tax credit

Approx. Jan., 2012

The U.S. Congress declined to extend the 54-cents-per-gallon tariff levied against imported ethanol, and the complementary production tax credit of 46 cents per gallon, which had been provided to U.S. producers for three decades.

New Brazilian Forest Code signed into law

Approx. October, 2012

"Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed into law a revised version of the country's Forest Code, vetoing some of the most controversial changes proposed by agricultural interests in Brazil's Congress.

The law, signed after President Rousseff voted nine clauses, requires landowners to replant millions of hectares of illegally cleared land and retains earlier provisions for maintaining forest cover of 80 percent on private properties in the Amazon rainforest. However the revisions now allow landowners to count forests along rivers and hillsides as part of their "legal reserve". Previously these zones — where forest preservation is mandatory — were additional to the 80 percent requirement.

The new forest code also requires landowners to participate in a registry, whereby they declare their holdings — including the coordinates — to the government. The registry will enable authorities to better distinguish between legal and illegal deforestation and track compliance with environmental regulations. Landowners who fail to register won't be eligible for agricultural loans or other assistance from the state.

The law wasn't immediately welcomed by either environmental activists or the farm lobby. According to Reutersa, the ruralista bloc in the lower house of Congress may challenge the new law as "unconstitutional". Meanwhile Greenpeace call the new Forest Code an assault on the Amazon.

"President Dilma has ignored the call of the people of Brazil and taken final steps to approve a new law that opens the Amazon up for destruction," wrote Greenpeace campaigner Jessica Miller in a post on the group's blog calling for the adoption of a national "Zero Deforestation" target.

But Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the new law does not grant amnesty or encourage "illegal deforestation."

"No to amnesty, no to encouragement of illegal logging," she was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The annual deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen dramatically since 2004, but environmentalists worry that the new Forest Code could reverse that trend, pointing to recently released data from the Brazilian government which shows a sharp rise in deforestation over the previous two months."


GranBio begins 2nd gen production

September 2014

The GranBio is a Brazilian company of industrial biotechnology that creates solutions to transform biomass into renewable products such as biofuels and biochemicals. With an innovative business model, the company is the only sector that operates throughout the production chain - from raw materials to the distribution of the final product, integrating own and partner technologies.

Established in June 2011, GranBio operates the first plant on a commercial scale cellulosic ethanol or second-generation (2G) in the Southern Hemisphere, an unprecedented project in the Brazilian industry. The factory - named Bioflex 1 - has been operating since September 2014, in Alagoas. The production of biofuel made from straw and bagasse from sugarcane, the raw material which until then was discarded or burned in the cane fields, puts the company among the most sustainable companies in the world in the sector.

Elected in 2013 one of the most innovative companies in South America by the American magazine Fast Company, GranBio has a Research Center for Synthetic Biology and Experimental Station for development of new sources of biomass. Since 2013 also has a stake in the American company of clean technologies, American Process Inc., API.

In biochemical area, it is a partner of Rhodia - member of the Solvay Group - on a worldwide pioneer project to produce bio n-butanol, used in the manufacture of paints and solvents.

The GranBio is controlled by GranInvestimentos SA, the holding Gradin family, and has BNDESPar, company shares BNDES, as a minority shareholder with 15% of total capital.

Logen Raízen Begins producing and distributing celulosic (2nd gen) biofuel in brazil

December, 2014

"When the partnership with the Brazilian sugarcane produce was struck, the company shipped 1,000 tons of sugarcane bagasse to the demo plant in Ottawa. 'We spent six months here working with it. It had different mechanical and handling properties and the chemistry was a little different—not better, not worse, but different than wheat straw or corn stover,' Rahme explained. 'Our time at the demo plant was spent troubleshooting some of the problems we hadn’t encountered before on the mechanical handling side, and then optimizing the chemistry of our process for bagasse. Finding the right set of condition for processing the material and adapting our designs for bagasse.' "