Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has signed an agreement with Petróleo Brasilerio S.A. (Petrobras) that could accelerate the development and international commercialization of biofuels.

The announcement was made at the International Biofuels Conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The agreement is intended to help achieve the goals of a memorandum of understanding to advance cooperation on biofuels, signed by the U.S. and Brazil in March 2007.

“By bringing Brazilian expertise together with some of the leading U.S. biofuels researchers at NREL, we will increase our knowledge and be able to more quickly commercialize renewable biofuels in the global marketplace,” said NREL director Dan Arvizu.

Petrobras’ research and development centre conducts research on bagasse-to-ethanol, vegetable oil conversion to diesel oil components, and production of biomass-derived, petroleum-like fuels using thermochemical technologies. “The use of residues can substantially increase ethanol production without a correspondent increase of the planted area, boosting the existing process’ production by using its own residues,” said Carlos Tadeu da Costa Fraga, executive manager of the centre.

The agreement identifies four major areas of advanced biofuels research collaboration: biochemical production processes, thermochemical processes, economic and sustainability analysis from lignocellulosic biomass, and evaluation of intermediate blends of ethanol and gasoline.

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