Brazilian official: Flex fuel hybrid vehicles are the future

By Matt Thompson | October 14, 2019

Miguel Ivan Lacerda Oliveira, director of biofuels for the Brazil Ministry of Mines and Energy, said during the Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C., that the future of transportation is electric vehicles, but ethanol will still have a role as a transportation fuel. Oliveira was one presenter on a panel called “Global Decarbonization of Fuel: The Environmental Benefits of Ethanol.”

“The future is electric,” Oliveira said. “There’s no denying electric cars are going to grow up. But I think biofuels could play a major role in electrification of the transportation sector.”

One of the ways he said ethanol can play a role in an increasingly electric transportation sector is through the use of flex fuel hybrid vehicles. He said Toyota recently released a vehicle in Brazil that runs on ethanol. “It’s an electric car that runs on ethanol. So you pour ethanol in the car, and reforms and takes off the hydrogen and runs and it’s an electric car,” he said.

Oliveira said that in countries like China, that have electric hybrid cars that run on gasoline, most motorists opt to fill their car with gas, rather than plug in the vehicle to take advantage of the electric options. A flex fuel hybrid that uses E100 addresses this issue, as it’s easier for consumers to fill up on gasoline than to charge their vehicles.

It’s also cheaper for the consumer than gasoline. “Using E100 or just ethanol is also the future, because it lowers the price,” he said. “I think for reducing the price to the consumers, ethanol is the solution.”

He added that Brazil also hopes to transform the automotive industry by making electric vehicles electricity generators. “So you can plug that car in at your house, but the car’s not taking the energy from the house. The car’s giving up the energy that it runs and makes reformation to the energy,” he said.

“We know we have the solution for the electric car. It runs on ethanol,” he said. “The future is ethanol. And why is that? Because there is no future out of ethanol.”