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Sugar cane fuels carbon-neutral chemical production in Brazil

Burning bagasse, or the fibrous component of sugar cane left over from sugar production, to generate 4.5 megawatts of energy, German chemical and plastics firm Lanxess (Leverkusen, Germany) says its cogeneration plant site in Porto Feliz, Brazil will be carbon neutral, creating steam and electricity with carbon dioxide outputs not exceeding the amount of CO2 absorbed by sugar cane while it was growing.

Burning bagasse, or the fibrous component of sugar cane left over from sugar production, to generate 4.5 megawatts of energy, German chemical and plastics firm Lanxess (Leverkusen, Germany) says its cogeneration plant site in Porto Feliz, Brazil will be carbon neutral, creating steam and electricity with carbon dioxide outputs not exceeding the amount of CO2 absorbed by sugar cane while it was growing. The company started a switch from fossil fuels back in 2003, and Lanxess says that by 2010 the site will almost entirely eliminate CO2 emissions, reducing them by 44,000 tonnes compared to 2002. In addition to environmental benefits, Lanxess says a shift to a sustainable energy source and away from volatile fossil fuels, will mean steadier, and potentially lower prices.

The site is part of Lanxess’s Inorganic Pigments business unit, which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of iron-oxide pigments, producing 350,000 tonnes of iron and chrome oxide pigments annually at plants in the U.S., Brazil, Australia, Asia, and Europe. Lanxess has pigment plants in Krefeld, Germany; Jinshan, China; and Porto Feliz, Brazil, marketing the products under the trade name Bayferrox.

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