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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Brazil touts its sugar cane ethanol as green fuel option for Japanese cars


Staff writer

Cars in Japan should use gasoline mixed with ethanol made from sugar cane to help stop global warming, a Brazilian bio-fuel expert said Friday in Tokyo.

Alfred Szwarc, renewable energy specialist and adviser to UNICA, the Sao Paulo Sugarcane Agroindustry Union, said that over the past 30 years, Brazil has been producing ethanol from sugar cane and using it in automobiles across the country.

The Japanese government is considering importing ethanol from Brazil.

Szwarc said he believes blending ethanol in gasoline will be an effective way for Japan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and achieve its target under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

"We think that adopting bio fuels in Japan is the right direction in terms of environmental sustainability," Szwarc told reporters.

The news conference was part of a campaign to promote ethanol from Brazil, organized by UNICA and Coimex Trading Co., a Brazilian firm that exports ethanol.

The campaign was conducted with support from the Brazilian government and coincided with a visit by President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silvia.

Szwarc said many Japanese automakers are interested in seeing ethanol-mixed gasoline used in their cars. He said Toyota Motor Corp. told UNICA that fuel containing 3 percent ethanol causes no problems for their cars.

According to UNICA and Coimex Trading, Brazil accounted for 36 percent of the ethanol produced worldwide in 2004.

Automobiles that run on ethanol-blended gasoline currently amount to 50 percent of the total cars sold in the South American country.



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