The flourishing ethanol industry in Brazil


The National Corn Ethanol Union (UNEM) estimates an unprecedented surge in Brazil’s corn ethanol production, reaching 6 billion liters in the 2023-24 season—an astonishing 36% increase from the previous cycle and an astronomical 800% surge over the last five years. Driven by the expansion of the Brazilian industrial complex, technological advancements, and soaring international demand for biofuels, these facts mark a transformative era for the country’s corn ethanol sector.

This surge is driven by enhanced industrial capabilities, apparent in the proliferation of ethanol plants and the use of cutting-edge technologies to boost industrial yield. Key advantages include abundant raw materials, particularly the utilization of second-crop corn in Brazil, preserving land, facilitating nutrient recycling, and contributing organic carbon to the soil. The corn ethanol sector not only meets the growing demand for biofuels but actively contributes to the crucial decarbonization process.

Driving economic circular growth in Goiás

The Goiás state stands at the forefront of this corn ethanol boom, using 1.1 million tons of corn for ethanol production in the 2022-23 season—a pivotal contribution to circular economy growth. This practice illustrates circularity by efficiently using resources and yielding several positive impacts.
Repurposing corn for ethanol production converts it from a single-use commodity to a versatile resource, aligned with circular economy principles of minimum waste. The corn ethanol sector generates high-value by-products, including oil, Dried Distillers Grains (DDG), and Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS), broadly used in animal feed. This reduces waste and enhances the production chain’s circularity by creating secondary products with tangible economic and nutritional value.

Furthermore, the sector promotes power generation, supporting circular economy principles by contributing to a closed-loop energy system. Ethanol, produced from corn, serves as a biofuel, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy sources. The cultivation of eucalyptus in planted forests underscores the circular approach, offering a versatile raw material for several products like paper, wood, and bioenergy.

Pioneering adaptable models with efficiency and sustainability

In the vanguard of the Brazilian burgeoning corn ethanol industry, transformative investments are steering the sector toward a future marked by innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. Leading this charge is São Martinho’s Boa Vista Plant, serving as a testament to the industry’s commitment to pioneering adaptable models.

With an impressive annual corn milling capacity of 500 thousand tons, São Martinho’s Boa Vista Plant shows a paradigm shift in ethanol production. Beyond the sheer volume, this facility distinguishes itself by producing ethanol and high-value by-products such as DDGS and corn oil. These advancements highlight the industry’s commitment to innovation, efficiency, and sustainability.

In essence, São Martinho’s Boa Vista Plant serves as a beacon of progress, showcasing that efficiency and sustainability are not mutually exclusive but rather vital components of a forward-thinking and resilient ethanol industry. As the sector continues to evolve, these adaptable models are pioneers, charting a course toward a future where technological advancements harmonize seamlessly with environmental consciousness.