Energy From Alcohol

Energy From Alcohol: The Brazilian Experience

Harry Rothman
Rod Greenshields
Francisco Rosillo Callé
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130j1jb
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  • Book Info
    Energy From Alcohol
    Book Description:

    Both strategic and economic considerations make desirable the development of alternatives to petroleum as a source of energy and chemicals. Alcohol is one such alternative, and the experience of Brazil, a world leader in its production, provides a unique contribution to industrial policy for other nations. This book will be a valuable reference for all those concerned with energy sources for the future.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5926-3
    Subjects: Physics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. AUTHORS’ NOTE
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-ix)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. x-x)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-1)

    Pierre Mariotte, President of the FrenchSociété du Petrole Vert,expressed the dilemma of many Third World countries concerned about their future supplies of petroleum as follows:

    Do nothing and wait for some miraculous help, incurring the risk of ever increasing oil prices and eventual rationing by the suppliers. Or exploit national and renewable resources as quickly as possible in order to be ready to face an uncertain and uncontrollable future for oil resources.

    Brazil has chosento actthrough thePrograma Nacional do Alcool(PNA). This book is about the Brazilian national alcohol programme; its policies, technologies and social...

  7. 1 TOWARDS THE ETHANOL ECONOMY
    (pp. 2-12)

    Today’s chemical industries—which provide plastics, Pharmaceuticals, textile fibres, agricultural chemicals and innumerable other essential consumer and industrial products—are largely based upon petroleum as a primary raw material. Contemporary industrial society is in truth a ‘petroleum economy’. This has not always been the case. Prior to the mid-nineteenth century agriculture and other biologically-based sources provided our organic materials. Then Perkin’s synthesis of the first dye-stuff from coal in 1856 signalled our entry into a ‘coal economy’. It was not until the 1920s that the first petrochemical was developed—isopropyl alcohol. Even in 1940, 95% of the 3 million tons...

  8. 2 POWER ALCOHOL IN BRAZIL
    (pp. 13-37)

    Alcohol has been utilized in Brazil for many decades, first as a combustible and then as a chemical feedstock.

    Prior to the creation of the National Alcohol Programme (PNA) in 1975, the alcohol industry has always been determined by outside factors, strictly speaking it was a byproduct of the sugar industry. The sugar industry played a vital role in the Brazilian economy and government policy towards it is of fundamental importance to understanding and development of the alcohol industry.

    Government intervention has been dictated by the need to rationalize sugar production, and alcohol was seen as one of the instruments...

  9. 3 THE NATIONAL ALCOHOL PROGRAMME (PNA) AND ITS ENERGY OBJECTIVES
    (pp. 38-64)

    Faced with an acute oil import dependence and stimulated by a sharp fall in sugar prices in the international market, the Brazilian Government finally launched the National Alcohol Programme (PNA), created by Decree No. 76.593, on 14 November 1975.

    It should be clearly stated, however, that the PNA defined by the Brazilian Government for the purpose of substituting fuel derived from petroleum with ethanol is only one of various alternatives considered by the government departments in the effort to attenuate the situation of dependence which Brazil faces with regard to energy. Besides the necessary measures taken for locating and exploiting...

  10. 4 THE ETHANOL CHEMICAL INDUSTRY
    (pp. 65-88)

    Petroleum and coal have a dual industrial function, as sources of energy and feedstocks for the chemical industry. Ethanol is a rare alternative capable of fulfilling both these functions, although there are still many problems preventing this potential being realized on a large scale. For example, though alcohol fermentation is a well-understood process it remains a wasteful one. For every ton of alcohol produced 2 tons of sugar are required, a consequence of the chemistry rather than poor process efficiency alone. Thus, the cost of the substrate is of overwhelming importance. Ethanol is, none the less, presently being commercially exploited...

  11. 5 ETHANOL AS FUEL
    (pp. 89-104)

    Consideration of the use of ethanol as an automotive fuel is as old as the invention of the combustion engine itself. Nikolas A. Otto used pure alcohol in 1897 in his first engine. In 1907, the US Department of Agriculture published a report called the ‘Use of Alcohol and Gasoline in Farm Engines’, and in Britain, Ross and Ormandy in 1926 discussed the utilization of alcohol in the internal combustion engine. Bridgeman in 1936 published a paper on the ‘Utilization of Ethanol Gasoline Blends’ and in 1937, Alexander Ogston wrote a fascinating paper on alcohol gasoline blends. By the beginning...

  12. 6 THE COST AND ENERGY BALANCE
    (pp. 105-128)

    Two major factors in the production of ethanol are its cost and energy balance. Any justification for the production of ethanol, at least in the medium and long term, must be based to a large extent on its economic feasibility.

    The cost of producing ethanol depends upon many different factors such as the location of the manufacturing plant; the design, type and degree of modernization of equipment; the kind of raw material utilized; the relative labour costs represented; the scale of production and the total investment. There is no fixed ‘alcohol cost’ since it will vary between plants and even...

  13. 7 FOOD OR FUEL AND THE ENVIRONMENT
    (pp. 129-140)

    A criticism that has been made of energy crop programmes is that they could divert agricultural production away from food crops, especially in the Third World countries. The implications of such a shift in agricultural production merit serious consideration in a world whose food supply is precarious.

    The Less Developed Countries (LDCs), who in 1969 imported 28 million tons of cereals, will have to import, it is estimated, 90 million tons in 1985. Their import bill for cereals increases by 20% every year says the FAO, and in 1979 the total was $17 X 10⁹. In these countries the poorest...

  14. 8 THE BRAZILIAN EXPERIENCE AND THE THIRD WORLD
    (pp. 141-153)

    It is difficult to make any comparison between Brazil and the rest of the Third World Countries without analysing at least some of the major features. It will be almost impossible to present a comprehensive view here. We must be content to expose some of the major implications.

    It is too soon to draw any final conclusions from the Brazilian experience so far, other than after 7 years it is still viable and on target. Certainly its success and errors will greatly influence many other programmes already underway or planned for the future, provide a learning experience for others who...

  15. 9 THE FUTURE
    (pp. 154-160)

    The PNA programme is still in its early stages and its outcome cannot be predicted with any certainty. Yet already no-one doubts that it has made, and will continue to make in the future, a deep impression beyond Brazil’s boundaries. Other nations, many also developing economies of the South, should attempt to learn from Brazil’s experience with pioneering large-scale utilization of biotechnological conversion of biomass.

    The PNA is opening up many new possibilities undreamed of just a few years ago and the outcome will depend on many different factors. Some of these can be taken care of within the PNA...

  16. 10 UP-DATING SUMMARY
    (pp. 161-163)

    During the preparation and completion of this project and book, further new facts concerning the Brazilian situation have come to light, and are examined briefly here to provide further perspective to the Brazilian experience.

    The Brazilian Government is slowing its energy installation programme due to the present economic situation. The world recession has hit exports and caused lower estimates of growth for the next two decades. Confirmation of this slowdown has been incorporated in the revised version ofPLANO 2000(1981).

    NUCLEBRAS, the State agency in charge of the nuclear programme, has recently put the cost of the programme at...

  17. APPENDIX 1 BRAZIL: BASIC DATA
    (pp. 164-175)
  18. APPENDIX 2
    (pp. 176-180)
  19. APPENDIX 3 ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE AND CONVERSION FACTORS
    (pp. 181-182)
  20. AUTHOR INDEX
    (pp. 183-184)
  21. SUBJECT INDEX
    (pp. 185-190)