Energy cane is sugarcane that is genetically modified to become more productive for biofuel and biochemicals manufacturing, as well as for renewable energy generation.
Do you know all about sugarcane? What is Energy Cane? How is it used in the biofuel production process? This is what we will briefly explain here. In order to develop Cana-Vertix®, the GranBio's energy cane, our specialists focused on understanding in depth what sugarcane is, its relationship with bioenergy and, especially, how it should be used in the production of second generation ethanol. After this stage, we searched for seeds in germplasm banks in Brazil and in the world to develop it from the ancestral seedlings of sugarcane species, the GranBio's Energy Cane. The first commercial plantation of this new variety took place in 2015.
Energy Cane is a variety developed from the crossing of sugarcane ancestral species and commercial hybrids. The result is a more robust cane with a higher fiber content and productive potential, and longer cultivars cutting life, which is ideal for the production of second generation biofuels and biochemicals and the generation and/ or cogeneration of electric power.
One of its greatest advantages is that it can be planted in areas with low agricultural capacity, which allows the exploitation of less favored regions, increase productivity per hectare, in addition to not competing with food production. The energy cane has a deeper root system for feeding with water and nutrients. The potential is enormous: Brazil has 32 million hectares of degraded pastures that can be occupied with energy cane; more than the entire farmland of Europe.
Its rusticity also allows for other gains: the plant requires less water and less inputs to grow. All this, combined with high productivity, makes energy cane one of the most competitive raw materials today.
GranBio chose Alagoas to develop CanaVertix® because the region has an ideal microclimate for hybridization and variety selection. Therefore, since May 2013, it maintains in the municipality of Barra de São Miguel an Experimental Station, the BioVertis. With 60 hectares of area, it focuses on the development of sugar cane and other sources of biomass for future industrial units.
The Instituto Agronômico de Campinas (IAC) and the Rede Interuniversitária para o Desenvolvimento do Setor Sucroenergético (Ridesa) are partners of the project.
Currently, GranBio has nine varieties of energy cane registered with the National Service for the Protection of Cultivars (SNPC) and eight long-term CanaVertix® licensing agreements with relevant players from the Brazilian sugar and alcohol industry.