Nobel Winner Warns Brazil Might Soon Lose the Lead in Biofuel Race

    Brazil is the world leader in biofuel production, but it could lose this position in three years if it does not develop new refineries and prepare a larger contingent of qualified professionals.

    This is the assessment made by the New Zealander, Alan G. MacDiarmid, winner of the Nobel Chemistry Prize in 2000.

    He spoke at the official ceremony for the installation of the Sectorial Chamber of the Oil Seed (castor beans, dendê coconuts, sunflower seeds, etc.) and Biofuel Supply Chain, at the headquarters of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Enterprise (Embrapa), in Brasí­lia, capital of Brazil.

    MacDiarmid said that the world is discovering bioenergy as a way to reduce its dependence on petroleum.

    "We have a real challenge ahead of us. At the moment Brazil is the leader in this field, but many people in Brazil are not aware of this, and the world is only now discovering what Brazil discovered in the past.

    "But it is necessary for the country to decide whether it wants to remain in the lead," he commented. For this, he suggested that biofuel producers pressure the government, develop cheaper technologies, and provide stability to farmers.

    According to the chemist, biofuels can serve as the foundation of a new industry. Without mentioning names, MacDiarmid informed that the owner of one of the world’s largest airlines wants to use biofuel as a substitute for regular airplane fuel. He also pointed out that, since Brazil manufactures aircraft, it could also build airplanes powered by this type of fuel.

    At the ceremony the minister of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, Roberto Rodrigues, stated that Brazil cannot throw away the chance to be the leader of this sector.

    "We must not sacrifice through incompetence or inaction what we built up through 30 years of knowledge. It is Brazil’s responsibility to maintain this leadership."

    Agência Brasil

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