Brazil has opened up the first ethanol fired power plant in the world, and hopes that this would help increasing the clean power output from the country. Brazil mostly uses hydroelectric power for its energy needs, but backup thermoelectric generation is required during the dry season. The plant in question is the Juiz de Fora plant, an 87-megawatt power plant that was upgraded by GE and Petrobas.
This plant can now run on natural gas or ethanol, and the input fuel can be changed instantly. GE believes that such plants can be useful for places that do not have access to natural gas, or where diesel is heavily used. GE’s Latin America Products Director, John Ingham also said that the ethanol fired plant produced the same energy output, with reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Brazil happens to be a hotbed for ethanol use and production, and is already in talks with Japan to develop biofuel fired power plants there. GE on its part, says that it has 770 turbines like the ones used in the ethanol fired power plant and many plants could be converted to run the same way.