Terça-feira, Março 20, 2007

Combustíveis alternativos

Na década de 70, quando a crise do petróleo batia às portas do mercado internacional, a EMBRATEL, então estatal, preocupava-se em obter um combustível alternativo ao óleo diesel, para alimentar os grupos-geradores que forneciam energia principalmente às suas estações repetidoras de sinais (micro-ondas e tropo difusão) por este país imenso. Pesquisas, desenvolvimento, testes junto com vários laboratórios nacionais e chegou-se ao uso eficiente dos óleos vegetais, (soja, mamona, dendê e outros). O biodiesel começava a ficar disponível no Brasil. Mas quem se interessaria pela produção em escala industrial? Muito embora a frota diesel do país já fosse imensa, o governo só estimulava a produção do álcool combustível. E o nosso biodiesel ficou sem chance, muito embora estudos da própria EMBRATEL revelassem que seria uma alternativa mais barata, renovável e pouco poluidora.
Os anos se passaram. Agora fala-se que a solução é o biodiesel, mas não vemos iniciativas de porte no brasil que se coadune com as afirmativas colcocadas por aí.
Enquanto isso, nos Estados Unidos, um ex-piloto de carga americano, por volta de 1993 juntou suas economias, hipotecou sua casa, utilizou os recursos do fundo 401K, que poderiam garantir sua aposentadoria e aplicou em uma refinaria de óleo de soja. Em 1994 ele comprou de agricultores de Iowa uma partida de óleo de soja e deu início à sua produção de biodiesel, com sua empresa Imperium Renewables (www.imperiumrenewables.com), em Seatlle.
Hoje a Imperium vende de 700 a 800 milhões de galões de biodiesel por dia, para quatro distribuidores regionais de combustíveis e não consegue atender à demanda. Ao final do próximo verão a Imperium deve inaugurar uma nova planta produtora de biodiesel, ainda em Seatlle.
O mapa ao lado mostra a situação do biodiesel hoje em estados americanso. Vale observar que existe interesse pelo sucesso dos empreendimentos.
O mapa ao lado mostra a situação do biodiesel em alguns estados americanos e como o novo combustível alternativo vem sendo tratado.
As notícias, sem grandes novidades para aqueles que trabalhavam na EMBRATEL na década de 70, dão conta de que o biodiesel pode ser obtido de gordura animal e de qualquer óleo vegetal, incluindo o óleo de cozinha. O biodiesel atua como lubrificante natural, é completamente bio-degradável e queima de forma mais limpa do que o óleo diesel convencional, reduzindo as emissões de monóxido de carbono em cerca de 50% e de dióxido de carbono -o principal agente que provoca o aquecimento global - em cerca de 78%.
De forma diferente do etanol, que em elevadas concentrações trabalha somente em motores veiculares especialmente desenvolvidos para tal uso, o biodiesel roda virtualmente em qualquer motor projetado para funcionar com óleo diesel. De acordo com a national Biodiesel Board (www.biodiesel,org), as vendas de biodiesel nos EUA quintuplicaram nos ultimos 3 anos, chegando a um volume de 200 milhões de galões em 2006. A expectativa dos analistas é que por volta de 2020 as vendas alcancem 800 milhões de barris.


 
 

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