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Brazil Unveils New Fuel

Tuesday June 20, 6:00 pm ET

Brazil Unveils New Fuel Mixing Petroleum and Vegetable Oil

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil has developed a new diesel fuel mixed with vegetable oils that will sharply reduce its need for imported diesel, the state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA said Tuesday.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said the new fuel represented a "revolution of tremendous magnitude for the 21st century," when state-run Petrobras presented the fuel in Curitiba, 415 miles (670 kms) southwest of Rio.

"The world has had many wars because of petroleum" Silva said. Brazil "will be the most important country for renewable energy. Nobody will compete with us."

Silva said farmworkers who plant soy and other oil seeds "now will sow petroleum."

He cited Brazil's widespread use of ethanol -- sugarcane alcohol used straight or mixed with gasoline -- and biodiesel, a diesel fuel made solely from vegetable oils.

Petrobras said the new fuel, called H-Bio, was developed over 18 months by mixing refinery petroleum with oil from soy, sunflower seeds, cotton and castor beans.

The new H-Bio fuel is different from bio-diesel, which is also produced with vegetable oils but is blended into regular diesel by fuel distributors, not at the refinery level.

Petrobras predicted that three refineries would produce the new fuel by 2007. The company declined to reveal its investment or expected production but said diesel fuel imports would decline "initially by 250 million liters (66 million gallons) a year."

In 2007, Petrobras plans to use 256 million liters (68 million gallons) of vegetable oils in the production of H-Bio fuel, Petrobras Downstream Director Paulo Roberto Costa said. That will replace 15 percent of Petrobras' current diesel imports, estimated at 1.7 billion liters (450 million gallons) in 2006.
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