Analysis of the Viability of Ethanol Production in Brazil: Economical, Social & Environmental Implications

Isabel Alvarez Murillo


The global dependency on fossil fuels as energy sources has encouraged many countries to look for different renewable alternatives. Some have come to consider biofuel production as the ‘solution’ to the oil dependency. The leaders of ethanol production in the world are the United States and Brazil. This paper will focus on ethanol production in Brazil, outlining its development through Brazil’s history as well as the advantages and the negative impacts of such a market. The importance of this energy source in Brazil’s economy and the possible future outcomes of Brazil’s biofuel dependency will be discussed. Three different aspects of primary impacts will be highlighted: economic, environmental and social. The effects of the new advancements in emerging biofuels will be discussed as they pertain to the current market for first-generation biofuels. An analysis of the economic impacts of ethanol will concentrate on the influence of the American ethanol market and its policies on Brazil. The environmental impacts of land use change, with a focus on soil, water and biodiversity, will also be reviewed. Likewise, the social impacts associated with food security, sugarcane workers and indigenous peoples’ rights will be discussed. An overall view of the repercussions of biofuel production will be presented and questions regarding the viability of the biofuel market in Brazil will be addressed.

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Energy and Environment Research   ISSN 1927-0569 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0577 (Online)  Email:

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