International Agriculture News

Brazilians Are Now Making Ethanol With Soybeans

It’s common knowledge that corn is used to make ethanol and soybeans to make biodiesel.

But did you know that soybeans are now being used as a raw material for ethanol production?

As the tensions between Brazil and the U.S. over ethanol duties grow, Brazilian company Caramuru, which is based in Sorriso, a city in the northern state of Mato Grosso, announced it will produce hydrous ethanol from soybeans and will also process soy lecithin.

The capacity of the unit is 6.8 million liters and 3,000 tons of lecithin. The plant already mills soybean meal, makes biodiesel, and stores grain.

Caramuru’s vice-president, César Borges de Sousa, told that the idea came from the fact that every year the factory had surpluses, but could definitely be more efficient. In order to make hydrous ethanol, the company uses the surpluses of soybean molasses.

“Our intention is to increase our profitability and compete in the market for biofuels,” affirmed Sousa. According to the company’s vice president, it is likely that most, if not all the production, goes for the Brazilian domestic market.

Other than the use of fuel, hydrous ethanol can be used for perfumes, cleaning materials, solvents, and paints. Some experts believe that the new technique could be used by other processors around the country.

Caramuru had a revenue of R$ 4.02 billion ($1.2 billion considering the current currency exchange) in 2016.

The company has 2,768 employees and exported nearly $552.4 million last year. In order to ship its products, Caramuru often uses multimodal ways such as the railway, the waterways of Tietê-Paraná and Tapajós-Amazonas, and also has investments in the ports of Santos, São Paulo, and Santana, state of Amapá.