GranBio was established in June 2011.
GranBio is controlled by the Gradin family, with 85% of the capital, and BNDESPar, the BNDES investment entity, as a minority shareholder, with the remaining 15%.
The headquarter of GranBio is in São Paulo and the company has operational units in Alagoas (Experimental Station, raw material distribution center and 2G ethanol biorefinery - Bioflex 1).
The first ethanol and second generation ethanol have the same physicochemical composition. The difference is the raw material and the production process. Traditional ethanol (1G) is produced from sugarcane broth or molasses. The 2G ethanol is made from sugars extracted from the cellulose of the plant, present in straw and sugarcane bagasse, wood, sorghum, among others.
There are three crucial steps to getting to the end product. During pretreatment, the biomass is prepared so that the cellulose and the hemicellulose are accessed. In the next step - enzymatic hydrolysis - cellulose and hemicellulose are broken down into simple sugar molecules (such as glucose and xylose) by the action of enzymes. Finally, during the fermentation, these sugars are transformed into ethanol with the use of yeasts.
Sugarcane straw or bagasse or Cana-Vertix® biomass, a variety developed by GranBio from the genetic crossing of sugarcane ancestral types and commercial hybrids.
Because this is an abundant raw material in Brazil. Consequently, it is cheaper than other available biomass sources. In addition, cane produces more waste than corn, which makes it even more advantageous in the production of cellulosic ethanol.
Energy Cane is a variety developed from the genetic crossing of sugarcane ancestral species and commercial hybrids. The result is a more robust cane with higher fiber content and productive potential, which being extremely rustic can be planted in degraded pasture areas without competing with food production. Energy cane can be produced and processed in the same way as conventional cane. At GranBio, energy cane was baptized as Cana Vertix®.
The process to reach the energy cane happens through classic genetic improvement, similar to the improvement of sugarcane. Two varieties of plants are used, which are crossed to each other. The seeds that arise from this crossing are planted in the field. After sprouting, the most robust plants are selected.
The Experimental Station focuses on the development of Cana Vertix® - and other biomass sources for the future industrial units of the company. The unit is located in the municipality of Barra de São Miguel, in Alagoas.