Car electrification won’t wipe out ethanol market, producer says

NEW YORK: The global movement by governments and automakers to boost car electrification doesn’t mean ethanol will be dead as a product, says an executive at one of the world’s largest biofuel producers.

Beyond the demand that will continue to exist in countries that produce biofuel and where adoption of electric vehicles is considered slower, such as Brazil and India, there are industries that will need to use biofuels to reduce emissions where electrification is not a feasible option, said Paula Kovarsky, chief strategy officer at Raízen SA in Brazil.

In an interview Tuesday night in New York, where she is taking part in the upcoming week’s cycle of climate talks, Kavarsky said so-called “hard to cut” sectors such as shipping and commercial aviation are targets. strong for the future of biofuels. , as well as electric cars that could use fuel cells to convert ethanol into hydrogen to run electric motors.

“I imagine for car manufacturers, in the same model of electric car that would have a battery in Europe or the United States, they could change that battery to a fuel cell in Brazil or India and use ethanol “, she said.

Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen are among automakers developing hybrid technology that uses ethanol to produce hydrogen inside the car, the gas that will in turn power the electric motor.

Experts believe this makes sense for places like Brazil where there is an extensive ethanol distribution system. But since automakers have global production plans, it’s doubtful that they’ll produce cars for the needs of specific regions.

Kovarsky sees potential for using ethanol in sustainable aviation fuel or as bunker biofuel for ships – areas where batteries and electrification would be difficult to use.