Price and the environment: see what's at stake with the use of biodiesel

Addition of biodiesel to regular diesel reaches highest level ever practiced in Brazil
March 11, 2024
BBF oil palm fruits

This Sunday (10), gas stations have been selling regular diesel with 14% biodiesel, an alternative to petroleum-based fuels, made from biomass (organic matter of plant or animal origin) for exactly ten days.

The addition of 14% biodiesel to fuel since the 1st of this month, for example, has increased the price of a liter of diesel at the pump by around R$0.02. The impact hasn't been huge, but it still worries vehicle owners in Belém.

Increasing the use of biodiesel involves factors such as the impact on price, car performance and the environment due to the emission of less polluting gases. The federal government's "Fuel for the Future" bill has even been in Congress since September 2023.

Last February, the bill was reworded to increase the percentage of biodiesel gradually added from 20% to 25%. The text was well received by the sector. Milton Steagall is the CEO of Grupo BBF (Brasil Biofuels), and says that the government's gradual addition plan and the guidelines of the "Fuel for the Future" plan are suited to the Brazilian reality in the short and long term.

"They (the planning and the bill) provide predictability for the sector to prepare in advance for the development of more efficient processes, the sourcing of raw materials and the search for more competitive prices, in order to meet market demands," says the BBF executive.

In Steagall's assessment, "the tendency is for us to have more competitive costs on the market, due to the increase in volume and greater competitiveness in the sector. In addition, the greater addition of biodiesel to the mix will reduce the need to import fossil diesel, since before B14, Brazil needed to import around 20% of the diesel consumed."

He explained that BBF is one of the suppliers of the currently announced blend. Since 2009, the group has been producing biodiesel made from palm oil at its plant in Ji-Paraná, in the state of Rondônia. "We supply biodiesel to fuel distributors, who in turn add it to the mixture with fossil diesel," said Milton.

Regarding the performance of biodiesel, the BBF executive guarantees that it is close to that of fossil diesel. "I can cite the example of our thermoelectric plants that operate with 100% biodiesel in the generator engines, maintaining the same performance. From an environmental point of view, the gain is immense: biodiesel is a renewable and biodegradable biofuel," he said.

"Biodiesel does not contain sulphur, does not emit carcinogenic substances and avoids carbon emissions, and plays a fundamental role in the energy transition of various sectors such as logistics, agriculture, energy generation, among others."

Milton Steagall explains that biodiesel is the end product of a broad value chain. "It has a positive impact on various sectors of the economy and generates development in various regions of Brazil. In the case of Grupo BBF, our raw material is palm oil, produced sustainably in Pará and Roraima."

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