This chapter aims to explain how bio-ethanol has been drawn to become a successful alternative to partially replace petroleum as a source of liquid fuels in Brazil. A brief historical analysis about the production of bio-ethanol from sugarcane is presented. The motivation to start the production of the ethanol as biofuel in the 1970s and how the governmental policies have contributed to the ups and downs, successes, and failures of the sugarcane industry is shown. Then, the efficiency of the sector is addressed; firstly, the increasing efficiency of the agricultural sector is discussed, showing how the productivity per hectare has increased in the last decades and which improvements are further expected in a near future. Finally, the industrial process is discussed: the current efficiency in processing sugarcane to produce ethanol and the emerging technologies, not only to process sugarcane juice, but also to harness bagasse, vinasse, and sugarcane straw.
Part of the book: Fuel Ethanol Production from Sugarcane