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  • Published On : Sep 2023
  • Code : CMI6381
  • Pages : 140
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Bulk Chemicals

The Brazil Ethanol market size was valued at US$ 18.18 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach US$ 27.88 billion by 2030, grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3% from 2023 to 2030. Ethanol is a renewable biofuel produced through the fermentation and distillation of crops like sugarcane, corn, wheat and cassava. It is used as a clean alternative to traditional fossil fuels to power vehicles and generate electricity. The high ethanol production and consumption in Brazil is driven by strong government support through blending mandates and tax incentives.

The Brazil Ethanol Market is segmented by feedstock, end use, technology, blend, and region. By feedstock, sugarcane accounts for over 90% of the market share owing to favorable climate conditions and high yields. Brazil is the world's largest sugarcane ethanol producer.

Brazil Ethanol Market Regional Insights

  • São Paulo (Southeast Region):
    • São Paulo is the heart of Brazil's ethanol production and consumption.
    • This region, known for its vast sugarcane plantations, has numerous ethanol distilleries and refineries.
    • São Paulo has a well-established infrastructure for ethanol distribution and fueling stations.
  • Minas Gerais (Southeast Region):
    • Minas Gerais is another significant producer of ethanol in Brazil, with a focus on both sugarcane and corn-based ethanol.
    • The state plays a key role in supplying ethanol to the domestic market.
  • Goias (Central-West Region):
    • The Central-West region, with Goias as a prominent state, is known for expanding ethanol production and has attracted investments in sugarcane cultivation.
    • Ethanol production in this region has been on the rise.
  • Northeast Region:
    • The Northeast region of Brazil has been increasing its ethanol production capacity.
    • States like Pernambuco, Bahia, and Ceará are becoming more active in ethanol production.
  • North Region:
    • While the North region is not a major producer of ethanol compared to other regions, there are efforts to promote ethanol production and consumption.
    • The development of the ethanol market in this region may vary depending on local initiatives.
  • South Region:
    • Southern Brazil, including states like Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul, also contributes to ethanol production.
    • Corn-based ethanol production is gaining momentum in this region.

Brazil Ethanol Market Drivers:

  • Government Policies to Increase Ethanol Usage: The Brazilian government has implemented strong policy support to drive ethanol production and consumption in the country. Ethanol blending with gasoline is mandated by law. The current blending requirement is 27% ethanol with gasoline, known as E27. The government has announced plans to increase this to E30 by 2030. Government tax incentives also make ethanol prices competitive with gasoline, further aiding adoption. The stable policy direction will be a key driver for growth of the Brazil ethanol market over the coming decade.
  • Investments to Expand Production Capacity: Brazil is undertaking large investments to expand sugarcane crushing and ethanol production capacity to meet the rising usage mandates and export demand. Major mills like Raízen, Biosev, São Martinho have announced capacity addition plans. Several new mills are also under development or planning stage across the country. The investments will drive supply growth for the Brazil ethanol market.
  • Increasing Adoption of Flex-Fuel Vehicles: Flex fuel vehicles that can run on gasoline, ethanol or any blend are gaining popularity in Brazil. This provides a readily addressable market for increased ethanol consumption as consumers can easily switch between gasoline and ethanol depending on prices. Ethanol's price advantage over gasoline due to taxation policies is further accelerating adoption. More automakers launching flex-fuel models tailored for the Brazilian market will also aid uptake.
  • Rising Export Demand for Ethanol: Brazil is the world's largest ethanol exporter, accounting for over 50% of global trade. Ethanol exports bring in significant revenues for the country. Brazil exports to over 80 countries with main markets being the US, EU, Japan, South Korea, India, Nigeria and Taiwan. As many countries increase biofuel blending targets, demand for Brazilian ethanol continues to rise. Expanding export volumes will boost growth for the Brazil ethanol market over the coming years.

Brazil Ethanol Market Opportunities:

  • Leveraging Advanced Biofuels: Brazil can leverage advanced biofuels to unlock new opportunities for its ethanol industry. The country has launched commercial production of cellulosic ethanol made from sugarcane residues. Major mills have set up cellulosic ethanol plants in partnership with technology firms. Scaling up this second-generation ethanol can provide additional revenue streams and improve mill efficiency by utilizing waste biomass. It also benefits the environment by reducing emissions. Investments in biorefineries to produce aviation biofuels from ethanol is another avenue that can be explored to enter the attractive jet fuel segment.
  • Partnerships for Technology Transfer: Brazil's well-established ethanol industry can look at strategic partnerships with international technology firms to acquire innovations for efficiency improvements, lower emissions, waste utilization and diversification into new products. Tie-ups with global auto companies to develop ethanol-powered next-gen vehicle technologies specifically suited for the Brazilian market presents another opportunity. The expertise can help strengthen the country's leadership in ethanol production and applications.
  • Leveraging Domestic Flex-Fuel Fleet: With around 90% of new car sales in Brazil being flex-fuel, the country has a unique opportunity to aggressively transition its transportation sector to clean renewable ethanol. This will require coordinated efforts between government, automakers, fuel retailers and consumers. Attractive pricing mechanisms and marketing campaigns highlighting benefits can provide a big impetus for Brazilian consumers to switch to ethanol. A predominantly ethanol-powered car fleet will significantly reduce liquid fuel imports and emissions.
  • Strengthening Export Infrastructure: Brazil will need significant investments to bolster storage, handling and transportation infrastructure required to meet rising ethanol export demand. Port expansions, railways, pipelines and shipping fleet modernization are areas requiring focus. Opportunities exist for private and foreign player participation through PPP models in building export-oriented infrastructure assets and facilitating trade flows. This can consolidate Brazil's position as the leading global ethanol supplier over the long term.

Brazil Ethanol Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2022 Market Size in 2023: US$ 18.18 Bn
Historical Data for: 2018 to 2021 Forecast Period: 2023 - 2030
Forecast Period 2023 to 2030 CAGR: 6.3% 2030 Value Projection: US$ 27.88 Bn
Geographies covered:
  • Brazil: Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias, Northeast Region, North Region, South Region
Segments covered:
  • By Feedstock: Sugarcane, Corn, Wheat, Cassava, Other Feedstocks
  • By End Use: Transportation, Power Generation, Alcoholic Beverages, Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Others
  • By Technology: Fermentation, Distillation, Dehydration, Others
  • By Blend: E5, E10, E15, E20, E25, E70-E100, Others
Companies covered:

Raízen, Biosev, Copersucar, São Martinho, Usina Sierra Alta, GranBio, Usina São Francisco, Usina Batatais, Usina Alto Alegre, BP Bunge Bioenergia, Usina Caeté, Usina Cerradinho, Usina Colombo, Usina Pedra, Usina Santa Adélia, Usina São Luiz, Usina Jalles Machado, Usina Bonfim, Usina Caarapó, Usina Da Pedra

Growth Drivers:
  • Government policies to increase ethanol usage
  • Investments to expand production capacity
  • Increasing adoption of flex-fuel vehicles
  • Rising export demand for ethanol
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Water usage concerns
  • Cost competitiveness with gasoline
  • Competition from electric vehicles

Brazil Ethanol Market Trends:

  • Adoption of Corn Ethanol: Brazil traditionally relies on sugarcane as the dominant feedstock for ethanol production. But in recent years corn ethanol production has been rising with several new plants coming online. Corn ethanol has the benefit of providing a hedge against fluctuating sugar prices which impacts cane ethanol. It also provides an additional revenue stream for corn farmers and mollifies the food vs fuel debate. Corn ethanol adoption is likely to continue growing, albeit at relatively small scale compared to sugarcane ethanol. Blending mandates enacted in key corn producing states provide policy support.
  • Digital Technologies for Efficiency: Ethanol producers in Brazil are increasing harnessing advanced digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, IoT sensors and automation to enhance productivity, efficiency and yields. Use cases include predictive analytics to optimize sugarcane harvest cycles, drones and satellite imagery for land surveying and crop monitoring, blockchain for product traceability and online platforms to facilitate transparent ethanol trading. Technology adoption enables cost reduction while boosting output, benefitting the ethanol industry.
  • Sustainability Certifications: Sustainability certification initiatives for the ethanol industry in Brazil are gaining prominence, led by the government's RenovaBio program. Certification provides verification of environment benefits through reduced lifecycle emissions compared to fossil fuels. This enables producers to derive added value in both domestic and export markets. Most major ethanol companies have obtained or are working towards sustainability certification from schemes like ISCC and Bonsucro. Consumer preference for eco-friendly fuels will drive further adoption of sustainability standards.
  • Transition to Biorefinery Models: Brazilian sugarcane ethanol producers are evolving beyond conventional distilleries towards advanced biorefineries that allow derivation of higher value bio-based products from sugarcane biomass. Companies are investing to diversify revenue streams through co-products including bioelectricity, biofertilizers, biopesticides, bioplastics and animal feed in addition to first-generation ethanol. Construction of flexible biorefineries integrated with ethanol mills can better optimize assets and improve profitability. This transition is expected to reshape the sugarcane biorefinery landscape.

Brazil Ethanol Market Restraints:

  • Water Usage Concerns: Sugarcane cultivation and ethanol production require large volumes of water which has raised concerns regarding water scarcity risks, especially in semi-arid regions. Water usage regulations have been tightened in several states with ethanol mills now needing to demonstrate reduced consumption and sustainable practices to obtain environmental licensing. Lack of proper water management can lead to restrictions on proposed projects. Mills need to invest in low water footprint technologies to maintain growth amidst environmental constraints.
  • Cost Competitiveness with Gasoline: While ethanol has cost advantages over gasoline due to lower taxes, fluctuating sugar prices impact its cost competitiveness. When sugar prices are high, mills divert more cane to sugar production rather than ethanol. This affects supply and makes ethanol prices go up compared to gasoline. Regional droughts also contribute to volatility in sugarcane yields and ethanol prices over time. Maintaining stable attractive pricing against gasoline will be key to drive Brazilian consumer preference for ethanol.
  • Limitations of Flex-Fuel Vehicle Infrastructure: Although flex-fuel cars are widely used in Brazil, the supporting infrastructure lags in many parts of the country. Fuel pumps need additional investments to provide appropriate ethanol blends based on demand. Limited awareness on flex-fuel models and ethanol compatibility issues especially in the used car market also constrain uptake. A coordinated approach between automakers and fuel retailers is required to strengthen the flex-fuel ecosystem and maximize ethanol consumption potential.

Recent Developments

New product launches

  • In August 2022, Raízen launched Cellulosic Ethanol, produced from sugarcane straw and bagasse. This second-generation ethanol emits over 90% less greenhouse gases.
  • In January 2021, GranBio opened a new cellulosic ethanol plant, producing 83 million liters annually from sugarcane straw. This boosts ethanol production capacity in Brazil.
  • In December 2019, Copersucar launched ECO, an ethanol made entirely from sugarcane. It has a low carbon footprint compared to ordinary ethanol.

Acquisition and partnerships

  • In June 2022, Raízen partnered with Associação Brasileira de Energia Renovável to conduct studies on carbon capture at ethanol plants. This will reduce emissions.
  • In May 2021, BP acquired a 50% stake in Biosev. This partnership boosted BP's biofuels portfolio with a strong position in Brazil's ethanol industry.
  • In April 2019, Copersucar acquired ethanol producer LDC-SEV Bioenergia to expand its operations. LDC-SEV has 3 bioethanol plants in São Paulo state.

Figure 1. Brazil Ethanol Market Share (%), by Technology, 2023


Top companies in Brazil Ethanol Market

  • Raízen
  • Biosev
  • Copersucar
  • São Martinho
  • Usina Sierra Alta
  • GranBio
  • Usina São Francisco
  • Usina Batatais
  • Usina Alto Alegre
  • BP Bunge Bioenergia
  • Usina Caeté
  • Usina Cerradinho
  • Usina Colombo
  • Usina Pedra
  • Usina Santa Adélia
  • Usina São Luiz
  • Usina Jalles Machado
  • Usina Bonfim
  • Usina Caarapó
  • Usina Da Pedra

Definition: The Brazil ethanol market consists of the production, consumption and trade of fuel ethanol in Brazil, which is primarily made from sugarcane feedstock. Brazil is the world's second largest ethanol producer after the United States and accounts for over 30% of global production. Most of the ethanol produced in Brazil is used domestically as a gasoline substitute to power vehicles, especially flexible-fuel cars and motorcycles. The Brazilian government has implemented policies to drive ethanol adoption through mandatory blending requirements. Brazil also exports ethanol to meet growing foreign demand for clean renewable fuels.

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Frequently Asked Questions

High sugarcane prices, high costs of second-generation ethanol, water usage concerns, competition from electric vehicles, ethanol fuel adulteration, price volatility compared to gasoline are some key factors hampering the growth of the Brazil ethanol market.

Government ethanol blend mandates, ethanol export growth, need for cleaner fuels, rising fuel demand, focus on reducing oil imports, and growth of flex-fuel vehicles are the major factors driving Brazil ethanol market growth.

The sugarcane ethanol segment leads the Brazil ethanol market with over 90% share owing to ample availability of low-cost sugarcane feedstock in the country.

Raízen, Biosev, Copersucar, São Martinho, Usina Sierra Alta, GranBio, Usina São Francisco are the top companies operating in the Brazil ethanol market.

South America will continue to lead the global ethanol market due to Brazil being the major producer and consumer.

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