An overview of the technological development on biofuels - Biodiesel and Ethanol - of Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China), through the analysis of patent filings in the area
Costa, Eduardo Scopel Ferreira da
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Resumo: It is well known that fossil fuels are the basis of the global energy market. The amount of these non-renewable fuels is diminishing rapidly, and the world must find alternative sources of fuels, and ways to make them feasible, in order to boost global energy matrix in the next decades. Besides, the unbridled use of these fuels is harming the environment and causing several problems, such as global warming, elevation of sea levels and changes in entire ecosystems. Therefore, renewable fuels come in handy to solve those problems. Biofuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, are fuels derived somehow from biomass. Biodiesel is produced through the transesterfication of vegetable oils (products of grain processing) and ethanol through the fermentation of sugars, such as sucrose, by microorganisms. Brazil, China, India and Russia are expected to be amongst the 6 most industrialized countries in the world by 2050. As big consumers of fossil fuels, they must be ahead of the production of biofuels, so they do not need to depend on importing fossil fuels to continue growing. To measure the technological development of those countries, patent information was used. Patents filed by the 4 countries in both ethanol and biodiesel related technologies were searched in the Derwent Innovation Index database, and analyzed individually, so that it was possible to define the state of development of each country. China dominates filings in both technologies, with 76% of filings in biodiesel and 74% in ethanol. Brazil comes in second place in biodiesel related technologies with 15% and Russia stays is the second best for ethanol related inventions, with 16%, even though Brazil has the biggest capacity of biodiesel and ethanol production. This scenario is explained by the major investments China has been making in Research & Development of new technologies and the lack of culture from Brazilian companies, regarding protecting its inventions.
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