Brazil Starts Biodiesel Drive
st 25 was the official launch of the endeavor by Brazil to produce a biodiesel fuel on an industrial scale using the castor-oil plant. A pilot project has been underway for two months in Quixeramobim, state of Ceará.
Quixeramobim is a town in the semi-arid region of the Brazilian Northeast where 70 hectares are being cultivated, creating 60 jobs.
At the moment, the project is producing 350 liters daily of biodiesel. When the project is completely operational it will produce 800 liters daily.
So far, a total of US$ 508,000 (1.5 million reais) has been invested by the state, local authorities and a consortium of privately-owned thermoelectric power plants.
The Brazilian Farm Research Corporation (Embrapa) has provided technical assistance.
"The cultivation of the castor-oil plant to extract a biodiesel is part of the Brazilian government objective of stimulating the production of biofuels," explains Cezar Martins da Rocha, of the Ministry of Agriculture, who adds that the project will be expanded further in the semi-arid region of Brazil's Northeast.
Rocha is from Ceará and is one of the architects of the project. He says the production of biodiesel from the castor-oil plant helps to clean the air.
"It is a clean source of energy that absorbs carbon gases in the atmosphere," he declares. "Besides its potential here in Brazil, it has a great future in foreign markets, as well."
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