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10/01/2012 - 15:55hs

Brazil uses biofuel to generate power in Antarctica

The Brazilian research station on the continent will be the first to use an ethanol-fuelled generator to supply its electric needs.

Brasília – Starting next Tuesday (10), an ethanol-fuelled generator should start providing electrical power for the Brazilian Navy station in Antarctica. The operation is part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Commander Ferraz Antarctic Station. Defence minister Celso Amorim should start the operation of the generator at the event.

The generator can supply the entire operating and scientific needs of the station. It was developed with Brazilian technology and will generate clean energy. According to the Ministry of Defence, Brazil is the first country in the world to use biofuel for energy production on the continent.

The biofuel generator was taken to Antarctica in October last year. A team of engineers also headed to the continent to install and test the equipment. Over a year, the generator should operate alongside the diesel generators that are already in operation.

According to the ministry, Petrobras supplies 350,000 litres of ethanol, identical to that used in the Brazilian vehicle fleet, and should provide the technical follow-up to evaluate and guarantee the use of biofuel in severe climate conditions.

Apart from minister Celso Amorim, Navy commander, Admiral Julio Soares de Moura Neto, and Air Force commander, air lieutenant-brigadier Juniti Saito, should participate in the event.

The Brazilian station was installed on Admiralty Bay, located on King George Island, in 1984. In 1986, it was occupied all year round by Brazilian navy forces and researchers, and may accommodate up to 58 people. The station has laboratories turned to biological, atmospheric and chemical research.

*Translated by Mark Ament

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