Biofuels event canceled due to pandemic

Biofuels event canceled due to pandemic
Ethanol plant in São Paulo state. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

The International Bioenergy Fair (Fenasucro), Brazil’s biggest biofuels event, will not take place in August 2020. It was set to be the event’s 28th edition, held in Sertãozinho, a city just over 300 kilometers from São Paulo. The fair has been rescheduled for August 17-20, 2021. “The decision to postpone the event becomes inevitable as we face an atypical and unpredictable scenario,” said the organizers, in a statement.

Last year, the event gathered 40,000 people and facilitated deals worth a combined BRL 4 billion, thanks in large part to RenovaBio, a stimulus program for biofuels producers. In analysts’ view, RenovaBio was “a mechanism that limits the downside potential for ethanol producers rather than one that will boost prices in the long run.”

The program, alongside a very productive sugarcane crop, set expectations high for the sector in 2020. Then came Covid-19, which — combined with a lack of agreement between oil-producing countries around possible production cuts — caused oil prices to plummet. Brent futures crashed from almost USD 69 in January to less than USD 20 today.

Lower gasoline prices make ethanol less competitive, threatening to cause a meltdown in the sector. Ethanol sales took a nosedive and many plants shifted their production to sugar instead of biofuels.

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