Investments in Wheat Ethanol Production in the South of Brazil

“Currently, the state imports 99% of its ethanol demand and the new plant will supply 23% of this need. The initiative is also promoting investments in the development of genetic technology for the production of wheat specifically for ethanol production…”

Erasmo Carlos Battistella is the CEO and founder of BSBIOS and leads the Omega Green project in Paraguay, a biorefinery for the production of second generation biofuels. Battistella holds a degree in business administration from University of Northern Paraná.

BSBIOS is a Brazilian company established in 2005, focused on the production of biodiesel. The company has just announced the acquisition of the La Paloma Industrial Complex, in Paraguay. In 2022, the company also announced investment in the first large-scale ethanol plant in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, in the city of Passo Fundo. The new unit will produce 220 million liters of ethanol and 155 million tonnes/year of bran for the animal protein chain.

Erasmo Carlos Battistella, CEO and founder of BSBIOS

AgriBrasilis – What is the BSBIOS overview of the biofuel sector? What can we expect for the coming years?

Erasmo Battistella – Biofuels are derived from renewable biomass that can replace, partially or completely, fuels derived from oil and gas. There are different classes of biofuels, varying their origin, needs and type of processing.

In the case of liquid biofuels, we have ethanol, biodiesel, green diesel, green gasoline and aviation biokerosene. The raw materials for the production of biodiesel can have the following origins: vegetable oils, animal fats, oils and residual fats.

The world recognizes the need to have a clean, sustainable and technologically mature alternative to fossil fuel to reduce greenhouse gases and to achieve the goals defined in the Paris Agreement. As a result, many countries and companies have already established their emission reduction targets for the coming years.

The biggest challenge is the management of transportation emissions in large cities. International commitments will not be fulfilled within the foreseen deadlines without biofuels.

Brazil has a global leadership position due to the strategic direction of the Brazilian State, that has been adopting public policies to promote this biofuel industry. The National Policy on Biofuels (RenovaBio) has become an example for many countries.

The horizon is also full of new possibilities for first and second generation biofuels. An example of the importance of building this State Policy is the need to approve a regulatory framework for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the country, to guarantee investments and meet the future and voluntary demands of airlines to achieve emissions neutrality in 2050.

Advanced biofuels will play an important role in the pursuit of these GHG (greenhouse gas) reduction targets by the aviation industry.

AgriBrasilis – What are the expectations for 2023 regarding RenovaBio? 

Erasmo Battistella – RenovaBio aims to ensure energy security, market predictability and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in the fuel sector.

The policy’s strategic guidelines were approved in 2017 by the National Council for Energy Policy (CNPE). The biodiesel production sector prepared and invested for this. In order to continue to fulfill this trajectory, it is essential to increase the production and use of biodiesel with predictability and legal security. A milestone in this evolution is the return to the mandatory blend of 15% biodiesel with fossil diesel (B15) as of March 2023.

I am hopeful with the resumption of the commitments with RenovaBio and the return of the biodiesel mixture even if it is in a gradual way.

AgriBrasilis – Santander lent US$ 7.8 million to BSBIOS at reduced rates subject to compliance with sustainability criteria. What are the criteria and why?

Erasmo Battistella – In December, Santander Brasil granted a new financing of US$ 7.8 million linked to ESG commitments to BSBIOS. This is the second operation of this nature between Santander and BSBIOS in 2022.

The resources are being invested in improving the operations of BSBIOS, the largest biodiesel producer in Brazil. Among the agreed considerations for the transaction are the expansion of the social project for the collection of used cooking oil, in the city of Passo Fundo, State of Rio Grande do Sul, and the implementation of the 2SC Sustainable Supplier Credit Program, with sustainable development of the supply chain and carbon credit bonus.

AgriBrasilis – What are the plans for the new cereal-based ethanol unit in the State of Rio Grande do Sul? Is it possible to produce ethanol from wheat?

Erasmo Battistella – BSBIOS announced investment in a plant producing ethanol and bran from cereals (corn, wheat, triticale, rice, sorghum, among others) processing.

Rio Grande do Sul is an ethanol importer State and we are going to expand our biofuel production capacity here in the Southern Region, adhering to Pro-Ethanol. Currently, the State imports 99% of its ethanol demand and the new plant will supply 23% of this need.

The initiative is also promoting investments in the development of genetic technology for the production of wheat specifically for ethanol production, that will also be a viable income opportunity for the farmer with the winter cereal crop.

Today, we already have wheat and triticale in our portfolio with extremely interesting concentrations of starch for ethanol production.



Losses of Over US$ 579 Million for the Sugar-Ethanol Sector