Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Flex Cars in Brazil

Because of the tradition in the use of alternative fuels, expertise was built in the produce of cars that are customized for these fuels. Flex cars can use several types of fuel, or a mix of them. By now, in Brazil it is obligatory to mix 25% of ethanol with any other fuel, and of all fuel about 33% is made out of sugar cane. In 2004 the amound of flex engine cars was 17% of all newly produced cars, in 2005 it was 80% and the estimates are that it will be 100% in 2007. [1]

As a result of the use of hydro electricity and ethanol, in combination with efficient use of energy, the carbon emission rate per inhabitant is about half of the world’s estimate at 0,5 tons. In comparison: for a North American this is 5,58 tons. But 80% of the Brazilian carbon emission is a consequence of deforestization, [2] where soy production an ground speculation can be held responsible for. Brazil is the world’s second soy producer, after the United States, and a part of the production is used for making biodiesel. Biodiesel doesn’t produce substantially less carbon then fosil fuel, contrary to ethanol. So however biodiesel is organic, her sustainable value is questionable because of the pollution and the effect on the rain forest.

1 Sugar Powers a revolution on Brazil’s roads – Tom Phillips, David Gow – The Guardian – November 23, 2005
2 Soya is not the solution to climate change – Giulio Volpi – The Guardian – March 16, 2006

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