Energy cane is sugar cane that has been genetically modified to become more productive in the manufacture of biofuel, biochemicals and renewable energy generation.
To create Cana-Vertix®, GranBio’s energy cane, our specialists focused on deeply understanding sugar cane, its relationship with bioenergy and, most of all, how it should be used in the production of second-generation ethanol. After this stage, we looked for seeds in germplasm banks in Brazil and abroad to develop GranBio’s energy cane from heirloom sugar cane species. The new variety was commercially planted for the first time in 2015.
Energy cane is a variety developed from the genetic cross between heirloom types and commercial sugar cane hybrids. The result is a more robust cane, with higher fiber content and productive potential, in addition to longer useful life after cutting, ideal for the production of second-generation biofuels and biochemicals and for the generation and/or cogeneration of power.
One of its strengths is that it can be planted in areas that are not traditionally suitable for agriculture, which enables the exploration of these areas and increases the productivity per hectare, in addition to not competing with food production. Energy cane has a deeper root system to find water and nutrients. The potential is huge: Brazil has 32 million hectares of degraded pastures that can be occupied with energy cane, more than the entire agricultural area of Europe.
Its rusticity allows for other gains: the plant requires less water and less inputs to grow. All of this, combined with high productivity, makes energy cane one of the most competitive raw materials of our days.
GranBio chose Alagoas to develop Cana-Vertix® because the region has an ideal microclimate for hybridization and selection of the variety. For this reason, since May 2013, it has maintained an Experimental Station, BioVertis®, in the municipality of Barra de São Miguel. With an area of 60 hectares, the station focuses on the development of energy cane and other sources of biomass for future industrial units.
The project has partnerships with the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) and the Interuniversity Network for the Development of the Sugar cane Sector (Ridesa).
Today, GranBio has 9 varieties of energy cane registered with the National Cultivar Protection Service (SNPC) and 8 long-term Cana-Vertix® licensing contracts with relevant players from the Brazilian sugar and alcohol industry.