Future Perspectives of Sugarcane Biofuels

  • Luís Augusto Barbosa Cortez
  • Telma Teixeira Franco
  • Antonio Bonomi


Biofuels need to be sustainable, with low GHG emissions, no use of forest lands, and no competition with food production, and should still be produced at low and competitive cost. The requirements for biofuels to fulfill are somehow “not fair” because they need not only to help reducing GHG emissions but also satisfy requirements they simply were not designed for. Nevertheless, the two most important modern biofuel production systems are the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and the US corn ethanol. One may ask, what happened with ethanol in these two countries that made their production systems a success? Somehow, in both systems the environment aspect is considered satisfactory, and there is no competition with food production. However, what makes them a success is the economics involved in both cases. Biofuels need to be produced sharing its cost with its coproducts, animal feed (DDG) for the corn ethanol case and sugar and electricity in the case of sugarcane ethanol. Brazil became the first world sugar exporter because of its sugarcane ethanol program, and the United States produced a quite strong beef industry in great part due to its correspondent DDG production largely used as animal feed. However, in both cases, DDG in the United States and sugar in Brazil are relatively saturated. In both countries, a new model will need to be invented. This chapter intends to analyze these issues and discuss the advantages of different production models. Also, the future perspectives of sugarcane biofuels are analyzed in the light of contributing to the global GHG emissions reduction and technology development of the most important biofuel alternatives.


Sugarcane biofuels Future perspectives of cane bioenergy Production models GHG emission Ethanol 



The authors would like to thank the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for supporting sugarcane bioenergy research “Bioenergy Contribution of Latin America, Caribbean and Africa to the GSB Project – LACAf-Cane.”


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luís Augusto Barbosa Cortez
    • 1
  • Telma Teixeira Franco
    • 2
  • Antonio Bonomi
    • 3
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center for Energy Planning (NIPE)University of Campinas, UNICAMPCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Faculty of Chemical Engineering (FEQ)University of Campinas, UNICAMPCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE)Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM)CampinasBrazil

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