International concerns with containing the growing adverse effects of climate change will require substantial efforts over the coming decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In Brazil, the transportation sector is one of the main sources of these emissions, and adopting low-emission alternatives such as advanced biofuels and hydrogen will be vital for this sector in the coming years.
Considering the importance of ethanol and the need to diversify Brazil’s alternative energy portfolio, the CNPEM focuses on developing cellulosic ethanol from waste, while acknowledging that alternate biofuel routes for long-distance transport will play an important role in the future. The CNPEM also is interested in technologies to produce hydrogen, a versatile and clean source of energy with various applications.
The objective of the program is to develop biotechnological pathways to liquid biofuels and produce hydrogen via electrolysis, using microorganisms, enzymes, and advanced materials. Because these technologies are still incipient in Brazil and must compete with developments in fossil fuels that have been established for over a century, analyses of sustainability are required, along with scaling up when possible.