SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazil's Dedini, the leading manufacturer of biofuel equipment, launched a new technology that enables cane-based sugar and ethanol mills to produce water as a byproduct.
Mills in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and most efficient cane producing state, consume currently about 1,800 liters of water from rivers or lakes to process each tonne of cane.
Through the use of water contained in cane, the new technology allows mills not only to be self-sufficient but also to sell the product for domestic and industrial usage.
"This is the mill of the future as environmental concerns are getting bigger and bigger," Dedini operations vice president Jose Luiz Oliverio said late on Tuesday. "There's a general awareness nowadays that water is a valuable product and some areas already face water restrictions."
Each tonne of sugar cane contains about 700 kilograms of water. With the new technology, mills could be able to sell up to 300 kilograms of this water per tonne of cane.
"The quality of the resulting water is better than the one from rivers," Oliverio said. "It could be used in irrigation of cane fields, improving the productivity of mills."
The cost to build a mill with the new technology is about 10 to 20 percent higher than with the conventional process.
Oliverio said the technology can be applied only in cane-based ethanol mill as other raw materials like corn and wheat do not contain water.
Brazil is the world's largest ethanol exporter and considered to be the most efficient.
Its industry expects to meet part of the world's demand for alternative fuels in the coming years and is preparing to address social and environmental problems related to ethanol production, which have become a growing concern in the European market for example.
(Reporting by Inae Riveras; Editing by John Picinich)