In 2013, Raízen produced more than 2 billion litres of low-carbon biofuel from Brazilian sugar cane. This biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions by around 70%, compared with petrol, from cultivation of the sugar cane to using the ethanol as fuel. The Raízen production process is efficient as it uses the waste material (bagasse) to power the production unit, with surplus electricity being sold to the grid. It also uses ash that is produced in the process from burned bagasse for organic fertiliser.
Raízen was the first sugar-cane producer to certify a mill using the Bonsucro sustainability standard in 2011. Raízen continues to work towards the certification of all 24 sugar-cane mills to the Bonsucro standard. By the end of 2013, 10 of Raízen’s mills were certified. As a result, 32% of Raízen’s ethanol was certified.
Raízen also supports government efforts to protect the land rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil and signed an agreement in 2012 with FUNAI, the National Indian Foundation, confirming that it would not buy sugar cane grown on land that belongs to the indigenous Guaraní people.
A key challenge with the current generation of biofuels is that they use crops that can compete directly with food crops for land. Advanced biofuels can reduce some of these challenges because they do not depend on food crops for raw materials.
In 2013, Raízen started construction of a facility at one of its mills that can produce advanced low-carbon biofuels from bagasse, leaves, bark and other sugar-cane waste, with technology provided by Iogen Energy. We are also developing low-carbon biofuels that have comparable energy content to petrol and diesel. They can be used in today’s vehicles and distribution networks without the need for blending with ordinary fuels. A pilot facility at our Shell Technology Center Houston, USA, continues to advance these technologies. We have dedicated biofuels research teams and research agreements with leading academic institutions across the world, including the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.