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Brazilian Biofuel Governance: The Case of Brazilian Ethanol and RenovaBio

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Sustainability Challenges of Brazilian Agriculture

Part of the book series: Environment & Policy ((ENPO,volume 64))


This chapter deals with the Brazilian National Biofuels Policy (RenovaBio), which has been in force since 2017, focusing mainly on the case of ethanol. RenovaBio instituted a broad and complex structure to recognize the positive externalities of biofuels, which aimed to pave the way for their future production in the country, avoiding the error of previous Brazilian experiences. However, the broad institutional apparatus necessary for the program to function is also criticized, and there are several aspects that must be improved at RenovaBio in order to take advantage of the opportunities that are designed for the coming years, such as the new technological possibilities and a better adaptation for different types of biofuels.

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  1. 1.

    In Brazil, fuel ethanol is made available to the final consumer in two ways: (1) hydrated ethanol, intended for vehicles capable of using only ethanol in combustion (E100), and (2) anhydrous ethanol, which is blended into all gasoline sold to consumers at levels determined by the Brazilian government (in 2022, a proportion of 27% of anhydrous ethanol in gasoline sold in Brazil, called C-Gasoline, is required).

  2. 2.

    In this chapter, the term “sugarcane industry” refers to the production chain that involves the cultivation of sugarcane until the processing by the mills for the main final products: ethanol and sugar.

  3. 3.

    Most of the sugarcane processing plants in Brazil are producers of both ethanol and sugar.

  4. 4.

    In Brazil by Law No. 13,576, of 26 December 2017.

  5. 5.

    Carbon intensity (CI): GHG emission computed over the fuel’s life cycle, per unit of energy (grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per megajoule – gCO2eq/MJ).

  6. 6.

    NEEA is an acronym that comes from the original Portuguese term “Nota de Eficiência Energético-Ambiental,” which is a score given to the producer for classification in the generation of CBIOS.

  7. 7.

    Decree no. 9.888, of June 27, 2019.

  8. 8.

    Decree no. 9.888, 27 June 2019.

  9. 9.

    Available at

  10. 10.

    A domestic or foreign biofuel production facility, which, in addition to the industrial area intended for the production of biofuels, may include areas intended for agricultural production, the manufacture of agricultural and food products, and the generation of electricity and sanitary landfills (XXIV, Art. 3, ANP Resolution No. 758/2018).

  11. 11.

    Biodiesel and biomethane: alternative fuels synthesized by fatty acids and hydro-processed esters (HEFA) from soy; and fuel ethanol – from sugarcane, corn (including imported), and lignocellulosic material (2G) (Article 4, ANP Resolution 758/2018).

  12. 12.

    For ethanol, gasoline; for biodiesel, diesel; for aviation biokerosene, aviation kerosene; and for biomethane, the weighted average, in energy units, of sales of diesel, gasoline, and vehicle natural gas (CNG) to the domestic market.

  13. 13.

    Available from

  14. 14.

    Sugarcane must be planted close to the processing plant due to the high cost of transportation and the loss of sugars in the time between cutting and processing. As a general rule, it is considered that it is unprofitable to cultivate sugarcane in areas more than 50 km from a processing facility.

  15. 15.

    ANP, Superintendence of Biofuels and Product Quality. Technical Report n° 02/SBQ v.4 – General Guidelines: Procedures for Efficient Biofuel Production or Import Certification. Updated 1 March 2021.

  16. 16.

    RenovaCalc allows adopting (i) the specific profile for both the primary issuer (hereinafter, the plant) and its supplier, (ii) the default profile for both, (iii) the specific profile for the plant and the standard profile for the supplier, or (iv) vice versa – that is, the specific profile for the supplier and the standard profile for the plant.

  17. 17.

    Vegetable impurities, minerals, collected straw, and soybean moisture content.

  18. 18.

    Instituto Totum, 2020. Understanding environmental assets – RECs, carbon credits, CBIOs, and GAS-REC. What are the differences?

  19. 19.

    To ensure compliance with the goals of the RFS, a monitoring mechanism has been developed, so that each gallon of biofuel produced has a certified identification. This certificate is called RIN: a number (like a “bar code”) that indicates, among other information, the date of manufacture, the company, the plant, and the batch to which this biofuel belongs.


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Correspondence to Leandro Gilio .

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Rodrigues, L., Gilio, L. (2023). Brazilian Biofuel Governance: The Case of Brazilian Ethanol and RenovaBio. In: Søndergaard, N., de Sá, C.D., Barros-Platiau, A.F. (eds) Sustainability Challenges of Brazilian Agriculture. Environment & Policy, vol 64. Springer, Cham.

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