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São Paulo Government, Toyota, and Shell Collaborate to Pioneer Green Hydrogen Production from Ethanol

3 Sept 2023

Brazil – São Paulo's government has embarked on a groundbreaking partnership with Toyota and Shell to venture into the production of green hydrogen from ethanol. This ambitious initiative, set to unfold at the University of São Paulo (USP), represents a significant stride towards establishing the world's first pilot plant dedicated to this revolutionary process.

Ethanol: The Cornerstone of Green Hydrogen Production in Brazil

Ethanol, a renewable fuel derived from agribusiness, is poised to underpin Brazil's green hydrogen production efforts. With sugarcane as its primary source, Brazil reigns as the world's largest producer of this eco-friendly fuel. São Paulo, housing half of the nation's sugarcane harvest, leads the way in this sustainable revolution.

Cutting-Edge Brazilian Technology at the Helm

This pioneering project relies on cutting-edge Brazilian technology, with Hytron partnering with USP, Senai, and Raízen to develop plant equipment. Expected to commence operations in the latter half of 2024, the pilot plant will have the capacity to generate an impressive 4.5 kilograms of hydrogen per hour.

Daniel Lopes, Director of Hytron Commercial, exclaims, "We are harnessing Hytron's pioneering Brazilian technology to showcase a disruptive solution. Hydrogen derived from ethanol is poised to play a pivotal, impactful role in Brazil's energy transition and beyond."

Raízen, a joint venture between Shell and Cosan, stands as a testament to the fusion of fossil fuel expertise with renewable vigor. Cristiano Pinto da Costa, President of Shell Brasil, underscores the innovation, stating, "This pioneering project aims to illustrate ethanol's potential as a carrier of renewable hydrogen, leveraging the existing logistical strengths of the industry. The technology holds the promise of decarbonizing sectors reliant on fossil fuels."

Toyota Joins the Green Hydrogen Journey

Toyota, renowned for its innovative mobility solutions, contributes its expertise to this transformative journey. With a vision to test the application of green hydrogen derived from ethanol, Toyota integrates its insights into the project. The iconic Toyota Mirai, the world's first commercial hydrogen-powered car, will play a pivotal role in these tests.

Rafael Chang, President of Toyota Brazil, elaborates, "Brazil's innate affinity for biofuels aligns with our belief in hydrogen's role as a clean, renewable energy source. It holds immense potential in combating CO₂ emissions."

From Private Mobility to Public Transport

This visionary project extends its influence to public transport, with Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos contributing two buses for testing within the USP campus. This comprehensive approach reflects the multifaceted impact of green hydrogen on diverse sectors.

While Brazil's proficiency in ethanol production is undeniable, the transformation of this green fuel into hydrogen presents unique challenges. Technical complexities, economic viability, and scalability are potential hurdles. However, the successful realization of this pilot plant could propel Brazil to the forefront of green hydrogen innovation, solidifying its position as a global leader in renewable energy.

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