"Brazil can be a leader in the production of second-generation biofuel," says CEO of Grupo BBF

October 20, 2023

Milton Steagall took part in the "LIDE/Estadão Agribusiness Seminar" and defended oil palm as an agricultural crop for the production of SAF and Green Diesel.

"Brazil has immense potential to become a leader in the production of second-generation biofuels". This is what Milton Steagall, CEO of Grupo BBF (Brasil BioFuels), the largest palm oil producer in Latin America, said this morning at the Agribusiness Seminar, organized by LIDE and the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, in São Paulo.

During his participation in the panel "The Great Challenges for Rural Producers and Agribusiness", Steagall discussed Brazil's potential for producing oil palm, better known as dendê. The plant, which according to federal law can only be grown in degraded areas of the Amazon region until December 2007, gives rise to palm oil, which will be used by Grupo BBF to produce SAF (sustainable aviation fuel) and Green Diesel from 2026.

The oil is currently used by the company as an input for the production of biofuels to generate renewable energy in isolated systems, which bring clean energy to more than 140,000 residents of remote locations in the Amazon.

According to Steagall, Brazil currently has a small share of the oil palm market. It is the world's fourth largest producer, behind Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. For him, however, the palm has many virtues, such as the fact that it cannot be mechanized, which generates jobs and income for the local population. BBF alone employs 7,000 workers directly and another 21,000 indirectly in five northern states.

"Another important point is that the palm has a broad production chain, from the seed to the cultivation, harvesting and construction of industries aimed at extracting the oil, transforming it into biofuel and now SAF and Green Diesel. Look how many job opportunities this plant provides. We'll only be able to put an end to deforestation if we offer job opportunities to the people of the Amazon," he said.

In addition to the positive impact on socio-economic and environmental factors, palm oil stands out as the main raw material for producing SAF and Green Diesel because of its chemical chain - identical to that of fossil fuels in the C16 and C18 carbon chain - and because of its high efficiency in oil production: palm produces 10 times more oil per hectare when compared to soy, another important raw material used to produce biofuels. "Brazil needs to find solutions to its own challenges and be a protagonist in sustainability," he said.

The panel also included Isabel Ferreira, executive director of the ILPF Network (Crop-Livestock-Forest Integration), Érico Pozzer, president of the APA (São Paulo Poultry Association), Edison Ticle, CFO of Minerva Foods, and Francisco Matturro, president of LIDE Agronegócios. The panel was mediated by journalist Isadora Duarte, editor of Estadão's Broadcast Agro.

SAF and Green Diesel

By 2026, Grupo BBF will start supplying SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) and Green Diesel to Vibra Energia (formerly BR Distribuidora) - under an offtaker contract. The raw material for the advanced biofuels will be palm oil grown by Grupo BBF in the Amazon region. Refining will be carried out at the first biorefinery in the country to produce the unprecedented biofuels on an industrial scale. More than R$2.2 billion will be invested in the new plant, which will have the capacity to produce around 500 million liters of SAF and Green Diesel annually.

About Grupo BBF

Grupo BBF (Brasil BioFuels), a Brazilian company founded in 2008, is the largest palm oil producer in Latin America, with a cultivated area of over 75,000 hectares and a production capacity of 200,000 tons of oil per year. The company is a pioneer in creating sustainable solutions for generating renewable energy in isolated systems, with thermoelectric plants powered by biofuels produced in the region. Its agricultural activity recovers areas that were degraded until 2007 in the Amazon, following the Oil Palm Agroecological Zoning (ZAE), approved by Decree 7.172 of the Federal Government, of May 7, 2010.

Grupo BBF has created an integrated business model in which it operates from the beginning to the end of the value chain - from sustainable oil palm cultivation, crude oil extraction, biofuel production, biotechnology and renewable energy generation - with assets totaling around R$2.2 billion and activities generating around 7,000 direct jobs in the northern region of Brazil. Grupo BBF 's operations are located in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima and Pará, comprising 38 thermoelectric plants (25 in operation and 13 under implementation), 3 palm oil crushing units, a soybean extruder and a biodiesel industry.

The company is expanding its supply of biofuels and has signed partnerships to produce Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and Green Diesel. The new sustainable fuels will be produced from 2026 at the country's first Biorefinery, which is currently under construction in the Manaus Free Trade Zone.

BBF press office

GBR Comunicação
Fernanda Domiciano / Vagner Magalhães