Sustainable Future: The Transformative Power of Palm Oil in Biofuel Production

05 March, 2024
Grupo BBF

sustainable future - oil palm

Palm Oil in the Production of Biofuels

In the world of renewable energies, palm oil stands out as a potential raw material for transforming the biofuels sector and boosting sustainable development. Oil palm is promising for a greener future for the planet.

Globally, Brazil stands out in the sustainable cultivation of oil palm. Despite ranking tenth among the largest oil palm producers, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the country has a veritable "green pre-salt" in the Amazon. There are more than 31 million hectares suitable for sustainable oil palm cultivation, recovering areas that were degraded until 2007, according to work carried out by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). This potential could significantly boost the Brazilian economy, opening doors to the production of unprecedented biofuels aligned with environmental preservation.

During the production cycle of palm oil until it is transformed into biofuel, the process begins with the responsible and sustainable cultivation of oil palm, following the guidelines of the Agroecological Zoning of Oil Palm, defined by decree 7.172, established by the Federal Government in May 2010. This process ensures that no trees are cut down in the Amazon rainforest.

Currently, Grupo BBF leads as the largest palm oil producer in Latin America, and is the only Brazilian company with an integrated and verticalized business model with the palm chain. The company operates in sustainable palm cultivation, biotechnology, biofuel production and renewable energy generation, with a cultivated area of over 75,000 hectares and a production capacity of 200,000 tons of oil per year.

As well as having a positive impact on socio-economic and environmental factors, Grupo BBF's business model values and encourages the development of the northern region. The company currently generates around 6,000 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs.

The benefits for the world

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Investing in the production of biofuels from palm oil represents a sustainable decision and a giant step towards a cleaner and more balanced planet. Biofuels reduce dependence on fossil sources, making a significant contribution to reducing carbon emissions and promoting the health of the ecosystem.

Responsible palm oil production can position Brazil as a leader in the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable energy matrix and a benchmark in the cultivation of this crop.

In addition, palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world, used globally in the production of food, cosmetics and hygiene products.

Grupo BBF strongly believes that through palm cultivation it is possible to develop sustainable agribusiness in the Amazon region, generating more opportunities in the countryside, developing professionals and improving the lives of families around the operations where the Group operates. It is also worth considering that Brazil currently has less than 2% of the world's oil palm market, growing the plant on an area of less than 300,000 hectares. There is still a lot of potential to grow oil palm without cutting down any forest trees, on the contrary, reforesting previously degraded areas, generating jobs and income for the population, as well as seeking innovative solutions for the biofuels sector.

The future of biofuels from palm oil

innovative biofuel made from palm oil

Faced with palm oil's enormous potential for biofuel production, Brazil is already putting innovations into practice. The aviation market, still lacking in sustainable solutions, should be the next to benefit from biofuel produced from palm oil. Grupo BBF is already showing the first steps in the Brazilian market for the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Green Diesel (RD), starting in 2026. The planned production capacity is more than 500 million liters per year of second-generation biofuels, which will be produced in the country's first biorefinery under construction in the Manaus Free Trade Zone.

Since 2009, the company has been producing biodiesel from palm oil at its plant in Ji-Paraná (RO). Grupo BBF uses biodiesel to generate clean electricity for its operations in the Isolated Systems of the Northern region. The plant currently has an installed capacity of 64 million litres/year of palm oil biodiesel, contributing to decarbonization and improving the quality of life in the northern region. This offers a sustainable alternative to S500 diesel, a highly polluting fossil fuel that is still widely used to generate electricity in isolated locations in the Amazon.

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