Ethanol derived from Brazilian sugar-cane offers the best hope of replacing oil as the world's main source of fuel when it runs out, according to Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive.
He said Brazilian ethanol is the "best type of renewable energy" and offers the possibility of an "ultrapotent fuel that could revolutionise the market".
BP is channelling its research into renewable fuels accordingly, with 40pc of its $1bn (£625m) [sic] annual spend in this area targeted at Brazilian ethanol, Mr Dudley told the weekly Brazilian news magazine Veja. [...]
"The alcohol extracted from sugar cane is cheaper, less polluting and more efficient than that from corn, for example, produced in the US.
"Brazil also has a huge advantage in relation to its competitors. The climate and soil are ideal and the sugarcane crop does not have to compete for areas with food crops, as happens in the case of America."
More than half the cars in Brazil already have flex-fuel engines, meaning they can run on pure ethanol or ethanol mixed with petrol, and around 80pc of new cars sold are of this type.
Embraer, Brazil's aerospace company, has also produced small aircraft which are fuelled by ethanol.
Mr Dudley said BP had recognised the potential of Brazilian ethanol some years ago, even before the discovery of vast oil fields off the country's south-east coast focused international attention on Brazil as an important energy source. Read more