Here is a brief summary of our Research center’s history.
Embrapa Agroenergy was created on May 24, 2006, with the beginning of the National Program of Biodiesel Production and Use (PNPB) and the launching of the National Agroenergy Plan (PNA), aiming to increase the participation of renewable sources in the National Energy Balance. In line with what was established in the PNA itself, research projects were established for Embrapa Agroenergy within the four axes: ethanol, biodiesel, energy forests, and by-products and residues. These projects aimed at the full utilization of the biomass from crops included in the agroenergy production chain, having in mind sustainability in its three pillars: environmental, economic and social, especially with biofuels. The first years (May/2006 to September/2011), led by researcher Frederico Ozanan Machado Durães, were marked by this research approach and obtaining funding to support the first projects. It was also the period of structuring of Embrapa Agroenergy, with the hiring of staff, acquisition of equipment and construction of the building that now houses offices and laboratories.
In the second phase (September/2011 to October/2016), led by researcher Manoel Teixeira Souza Júnior, the research center continued to invest in research focused on the production of biofuels, either in processes and inputs for the industries, or in the diversification of feedstocks available for the sector in Brazil. However, the development of technologies to produce chemicals and materials of renewable origin from biomass began to gain more strength, as the need to adopt the logic of biorefineries in the industries became more evident, at Embrapa, in Brazil and in the world. This stage was also marked by the completion of the research center's infrastructure and the inauguration of the laboratories and the pilot plant area, as well as the organization of internal work processes.
As a result of the path taken by Embrapa Agroenergy in its first ten years, the research center expanded its activities to include biomass chemistry and technology, without neglecting biofuels. Based on the global perspectives for bioeconomy development, on the established research groups and on the previous results obtained at the research center, Guy de Capdeville's management organized the actions in four axes: Biomass for industrial purposes, Industrial biotechnology, Chemistry of renewables, and Renewable materials. The vision for the period was "to be a national and international reference in the generation of technological innovations that allow converting diversified renewable feedstocks by biochemical, chemical and thermochemical processes, into sustainable bioproducts and bioenergy within the context of Industrial Biotechnology and Green Chemistry.
As of February 7th, 2020, the former head of Technology transfer, Alexandre Alonso, became interim head of the research center, after Guy de Capdeville became Embrapa's Executive Director of Research and Development. In the first year of his management (February/2020 - February/2021), the research center was challenged to plan and execute a remote work plan for employees due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, it intensified institutional relationship actions and strategic positioning through the organization and participation in events/committees/missions r to consolidate the research center’s participation in biofuels and bioproducts research. In R&D, we highlight the implementation of nine projects and the approval/contracting of new innovation projects, two with funding from the Embrapa Management System (SEG) and four funded by the Embrapii Biochemistry of Renewables unit. Awards from the National Treasury allowed the improvement of the research center’s infrastructure, and strengthening research with canola. In Technology Transfer, we highlight the creation of a business plan for the BtRR Sugarcane, resistant to the sugarcane borer and glyphosate herbicide, and the filing of three patents and a cultivar protection request at INPI. In the administrative area, the ERP/SAP system went into operation, integrating administrative and research sectors for greater operational efficiency.