GranBio Planing Second Brazil Site for Cellulosic Ethanol

Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) — GranBio Investimentos SA, the
Brazilian biotechnology company that opened the southern
hemisphere’s first cellulosic ethanol plant last month, is close
to announcing a partner for its second facility.

The new plant will be comparable in size to the $190
million-Bioflex 1 plant, Bernardo Gradin, GranBio’s chief
executive officer, said in an interview yesterday in Bloomberg’s
offices in Sao Paulo. He’s also planning a second biochemical
plant.

Bioflex 1 uses sugarcane waste to produce 82 million liters
(22 million gallons) of second-generation ethanol a year. Gradin
expects to invest 4 billion reais ($1.7 billion) through 2020 to
open at least 10 additional biofuel and biochemical facilities.
Gradin didn’t provide additional details about the new projects.

“With our investments, we will make second-generation
ethanol in Brazil more competitive than it is in the U.S.,” he
said. Standard ethanol is made from sugar cane juice, while the
second-generation version is made from stalks and other waste
parts of the plant.

About 88 percent of the cars in Brazil can run on either
gasoline or ethanol. Car sales in the country increased 25
percent in the last five years and gasoline won’t meet the
nation’s need for transport fuel, Gradin said.

That’s going to increase demand for ethanol at a time when
production is sliding. The industry produced 24 billion liters
of standard cane ethanol in the 2014-2015 season, down from 27.5
billion liters in the prior season, according to the industry
group Unica.

Cellulosic Fuel

The result will be more demand for cellulosic fuel.

Gradin’s goal is to produce the fuel for about 20 percent
less than the cost of standard cane ethanol. “We need to make
it faster and cheaper,” he said.

GranBio was formed in 2011 and has received 700 million
reais in investments. About 60 percent of that was borrowed from
the state development bank BNDES, Brazil’s research-financing
agency Finep and Banco do Nordeste do Brasil SA.

Gradin’s family owns 85 percent of the company and
BNDES, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico & Social,
has 15 percent.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Vanessa Dezem in Sao Paulo at
vdezem@bloomberg.net;
Gerson Freitas Jr. in São Paulo at
gfreitasjr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Will Wade, Robin Saponar

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