General Goal

The FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN) has as general objective to stimulate and articulate research and development activities in the academic and industrial environment, promoting the advancement of knowledge and its application in areas related to the production of bioenergy and its derivatives in Brazil.

Specific Goals

1. Increase Biomass Productivity

Biotechnology and Breeding

  • Development of plants with high productivity for the production of bioenergy and bioproducts;
  • Define for energy crops the mechanisms that contribute to productivity, use of resources efficiently and resilience to future climates;
  • Development of plants with tolerance to unfavorable conditions, including drought, flooding, salt accumulation, high temperatures, in addition to those with high WUE and NUE (high efficiency of water and nitrogen use);
  • Research that allows the diversification of biomass sources for the production of bioenergy, bioproducts and carbon capture;
  • Development of genomic platforms for the improvement of plants and algae for energy purposes, carbon capture and bioproduct production.


  • Research on how to intensify biomass cultivation, evaluating the potential in pastures and new arable land, define how to evaluate impacts and suggest best management and management practices; propose implementation strategies that result in sustainability for the intensification of pastures;
  • Define site-specific environmental characteristics (biophysical, biochemical and biological) for soils, including soil organic matter, soil carbon, biodiversity, nutrient status/retention, soil management, particularly with regard to erosion, hydrology, including modified soil water retentioncapacity;
  • Define the potential for bioenergy cultivation to remedy degraded/damaged soils; nutrient recycling; increase/maintenance of the productive potential of soils;
  • Long-term research on the nutrient and carbon cycles of soil under perennial cultivation and forest systems and on the effects of change in land use in water and soils;
  • Study integrated land management options resulting from a better understanding of the interconnections between intensification of pastures, food production and bioenergy cultivation;
  • Research how the use of agroforestry residues can improve soil quality, impact pest populations and change disease dynamics;
  • Identify optimal locations for energy crops using yield models, constraint mapping, and GIS-based opportunity mapping, including post-harvest efficiency.

2. Develop Efficient and Competitive Biomass Conversion Platforms

Conversion processes

  • Develop new technologies for advanced biofuel and bioproducts production;
  • Develop technologies for carbon sequestration and use;
  • Develop biomass conversion platforms for plants, algae and microorganisms using technologies of genomics, molecular biology, synthetic biology, genetics - for the main platforms - sugar, syngas, methane, biofuels, hydrogen, polymers, chemicals and building blocks forthem;
  • Develop efficient catalysts, micro-reactor technologies, efficient membrane-based separation technologies and other technologies;
  • Analyze the potential value of each organic matter stream – no carbon is wasted;
  • Develop studies that reduce technological uncertainties for industrialapplication.

Supply chain

  • Study how to integrate the systems - of the production, conversion and use of biomass - of all products considering the local conditions where the technologies will beapplied;
  • Develop biomass densification processes and equipment to handle various types of biomass to improve transportation, storage and preprocessing; studies of pre-processing and torrefaction regarding technical-economic performance;
  • Develop multi-biomass processes (e.g., co-combustion or co-combustion of multiple biomasses in a single oven) in flexible plants based on the physical-chemical properties of biomass collected, handled and sent to processing plants;
  • Develop low-cost field biomass drying processes to reduce the intensity of energy use in processing plants; develop moisture-tolerant conversion technologies.

3. Improving energy efficiency and sustainability of bioenergy's end use

  • Develop engine configurations for optimized use of ethanol (turbo-compressed, with variable compression rate, etc.);
  • Develop hybrid ethanol engines;
  • Make the technical and economic evaluation of ethanol alternatives in diesel cycle engines, considering additive, mixtures with diesel and reconfiguration of engines;
  • Optimize the diesel cycle for renewable fuels;
  • Develop aviation, maritime, stationary and agricultural applications for biofuels;
  • Develop biofuel cells and associated systems;
  • Develop technologies for reducing emissions considering the use of biofuels;
  • Make an evaluation of estimated costs and level of technological maturity of aeronautical fuel production routes ("drop-in") using ethanol as raw material;
  • Evaluate the economic competitiveness and impact on emissions of innovative configurations of traction systems: conventional ethanol, optimized ethanol, hybrid with ethanol, fuel cell with ethanol (reform) and electric batteries.
  • Develop electric batteries that have longer life (higher number of recharge) with high energy density and that are sustainable.

4. Accelerating the Transition to bioeconomy

Economic aspects

  • Develop economic models to better quantify the impact of the bioeconomy, better understand the impact of bioenergy in its various dimensions, and improve the modeling of technological changes;
  • Enable integrative approaches to the emerging bioeconomy in the context of society through the development of systems analysis tools to assess the impact of technologies, demand, sustainability policies and governance;
  • Define the preconditions, processes and governance necessary for bioenergetic and integrated agro-forest systems to thrive including the necessary educational resources, standards, private and public financing mechanisms, infrastructure, markets, policies and governance;
  • Define the socio-economic drivers at the local level and the political links necessary for markets and regulatory frameworks to promote the integration and sustainability of the intensification of biomassproduction;
  • Analise the interdependencies of the environmental, materials, energy and economy areas, with tools for the development of sustainable processes;

Social aspects

  • Develop systems of indicators, monitoring and evaluation, or use existing ones to evaluate progress towards sustainability in social issues; data collection involving producers, governments and international organizations;
  • Research the effects of industry 4.0 advances, sugarcane mechanization, changes and job qualifications.

Environmental aspects

  • Assess the long-term effects of biofuel production on biodiversity that contributes data to LCA biofuel raw materials and other energy uses;
  • Study environmental sustainability indicators that should be monitored to reflect soil quality, water quality and quantity, biodiversity, air quality and productivity;
  • Develop databases generated by interoperable sampling sites in order to connect diversity patterns with processes and monitoring to feed management;
  • Develop methods to take advantage of remote sensing resources to monitor and integrate land use, soil and water status;
  • Develop technologies for the use of waste materials, solid waste, sloil, reuse of water and nutrients and recycling in bioenergysystems.

Land use

  • Define CO2 emissions associated with co-products and by-products;
  • Define N2O emissions in bioenergy systems;
  • Evaluate iLUC;
  • Survey and analyze global land use data and monitoring systems (including agriculture, forestry and pastures);
  • Develop agro-ecological chains and "glocal" systems (global and local) distribution.