Pausing this Blog for Little While

I’m pausing this blog for a whilst completing my thesis — but lots of interesting thoughts about biodiesel in Brazil and Timor-Leste coming up.

In the meantime, have you watched my documentary about the National Biodiesel Production and Use Program in Bahia, Brazil?

I’ll be talking about my research at the Powerhouse Museum as part of #FameLab in April 2017. You can get tickets here

I’m also on Twitter — so if you’ve got any questions please find me there @sarinakilham

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The New Peasantry

I’m interested in how we communicate theory and different ways of wrangling our own heads about how theory works in the world. What do you think of this infographic? Does it help understand the idea of the New Peasantry? Or not? Keen for feedback

Infographics for thinking about the New Peasantry and family farmers

Infographics for thinking about the New Peasantry and family farmers

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National Atlas of Biofuel in Brazil

National Atlas of Biofuel in Brazil

from IBGE National Atlas of Biofuel Feedstock

from IBGE National Atlas of Biofuel Feedstock

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Declining Castor and Sunflower production in Bahia

I’ve been trawling through the website of the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and came across some data that I think is alarming

From 2007-2009, castor bean production in Bahia declined by 75%!

and Sunflower seed production declined to just 1 metric ton in 2012 (from +3000 metric tons in 2007)


This is alarming for a few reasons

  • castor and sunflower are both meant to be part of the staple feedstock crops for biodiesel in Brazil.
  • castor and sunflower are both meant to be grown by family farmers and the Social fuel stamp given to companies who purchase from family farmers. In fact, 15% of all feedstock must be purchased from family farmers for a company to be eligible to process biodiesel and sell in national auctions (only market).
  • there was a well established castor market – in fact, Bahia used to supply some huge percentage of the worlds total castor oil as it is in high demand in pharmaceutical industry
  • part of the PNPB strategy was to “lock out” the middle men purchasing castor bean in Bahia and try to ensure that all farmers sold through a cooperative (which was contracted to a Biodiesel company). Excluding the middle man was seen as high priority for ensuring ‘fair’ and ‘sustainable’ castor production in Bahia

I’m not sure why there has been such a drastic decline in the production- but the statistics show that area under cultivation has been decreased (i.e. its not just a failed crop issue, people are actually cultivating less).

Anyone in Bahia know more details?





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Thesis on Biodiesel

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My Endnote library is too big and growing…so thought I should share some of it around. Here is a collection of thesis (some Masters and some PhD) – mostly on the PNPB. I’m sure this is only a small section on all the thesis written on the PNPB – I’ve also started a Mendeley Group on Biofuel Thesis to try and collate these – so please feel free to add any to that group.  Sorry that some of these references aren’t complete – I seem to have lost the original article attachment to some.

Please note: this is currently organised chronologically.

  • Duarte, F. G. and A. S. d. Lima Programa Nacional de Produção e Use do Biodiesel: Uma Avaliação Inicial.
  • Mattei, L. F. Programa Nacional Para Produção e Uso do Biodiesel no Brasil (PNPB): Trajectória, Situação Atual e Desafios [ApresentaçÃO Oral]. Florianopolis UFSC.
  • Amorim, P. Q. R. d. (2005). Perspectiva Histórica Da Cadeia Da Mamona E A Introdução Da Produção De Biodiesel No Semi-Árido Brasileiro Sob O Enfoque Da Teoria Dos Custos De Transação. Escola Superior de Agricultura “Luiz de Queiroz”, Universidade de São Paulo. Bacharel e.
  • Cardillo, M. (2007). A Embrapa e a Agroenergia: Plano, Discurso e Imagem para novo model de desenvolvimento. Centro do Desenvolvimento Sustentavel. Brasilia, Universidade de Brasilia.
  • Portela, H. E. and P. D. E. A. Torres (2007). Avaliação técnico-econômica de um empreendimento produtivo de biodiesel. Escola Politécnica, Universidade Federal da Bahia. Curso de P.
  • Santos, D. C. (2007). Análise de desempenho e de emissões gasosas da queima de biodiesel em um motor de combustão interna de ignição por compressão. Departamento de Engenharia Química, Universidade Federal da Bahia.
  • Alves, C. T. (2008). Processo de biodiesel a partir de óleos de gorduras residuais em escala de bancada e semi-industrial. Departamento de Engenharia Química, Universidade Federal da Bahia. MESTRADO A.
  • Garcez, C. A. G. and J. N. d. S. Vianna (2008). Uma Análise da Política Pública do Programa Nacional de Produção e Uso de Biodiesel (PNPB). Centro de Desenvolvimento Sustentável. Brasilia, DF, Universidade de Brasília. Pós Gradua: 171.
  • Marcelo Santana, S. (2008). Biodiesel no Estado da Bahia: potencialidades, entraves e aÁıes indutoras.
  • Andrade, L. C. G. d. (2009). Programa Nacional de Produção e Uso de Biodiesel (PNPB) – possibilidades e limites do desenvolvimento econômico e da inclusão social para a agricultura familiar na Amazônia: o assentamento Calmaria II, Moju (PA). Programa de Pós-Graduação em Desenvolvimento Sustentável do Trópico Úmido., Universidade Federal do Pará.
  • da Silva, M. d. F. M. M. (2009). Sistems Productivas de Mamona para a produção de matéria-prima para biodiesel na região Nordeste do Brasil. Faculdade de Agronomia e Medicina Veterinária. Brasilia, Universidade de Brasília.
  • Wagenaar, D. (2009). The Brazilian National Biodiesel Program , an example of innovative governance towards the social inclusion of family farmers? Management, Economics & Consumer Studies. Waginenen University, Waginenen University.
  • Brune, S. (2010). The Brazilian Biodiesel Program (PNPB) and Social inclusion – Power, Knowledge and Social Inclusion. Department of Social Science, Waginenen University.
  • de Smet, K. (2010). Biodiesel and Social Inclusion: Unpacking the Social Inclusion Discourse of the Brazilian Biodiesel Program. unpublished thesis, Wageningen University.
  • da Silva Maia, R. (2012). Programa Nacional de Produção e Uso de Biodiesel (PNPB): implicações de uma Análise Custo Benefício., Universidade de Brasília


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Biodiesel Conference in Brazil: November 2014

If you can read in Portuguese – the Biodiesel BR is a good place to get news about biodiesel developments in Brazil. Unfortunately, it is quiet expensive to access the full site but for free you can read the 1st paragraph or two of their articles. The good news is that most of the information is already in the public domain, so if you find something interesting – it is easy enough to google and find further information elsewhere without having to pay their hefty fees.

They are currently promoting a Conference in Brazil on Biodiesel – unfortunately, there is not yet a full list of speakers or any real conference information. I’ve never been to one of these before – would be keen to hear from anyone who has attended.

Here is the conference link:



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Farmer’s Cooperatives Approved for Social Fuel Certification- Brazil


If you are thinking about doing research on farmers, cooperatives, biodiesel, Brazil or a combination of these – there is now an easy way to find which Cooperatives are formally approved by the Secretary of Family Farming (Secretaria da Agricultura Familiar) in Brazil  – organised by State there are +50 cooperative listed along with their phone number!



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