Weber A. N. Amaral print  
Weber A. N. Amaral, a Brazilian national, obtained his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from Harvard University, USA. He also holds a Master of Sciences degree from the University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil. His research and professional interests are in the areas of sustainable use of biodiversity, biotechnology and biosafety, sustainable development and environmental public policy.
He is currently the CEO of the Brazilian Biofuels Programme (, and formally Senior Scientist at the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, IPGRI (, based in Rome, coordinating the Global Forest Resources Project.

He is also an associated professor at the University of São Paulo (, ESALQ, Brazil (on leave). Prior to his current assignment at the University of Sao Paulo, he was an Assistant Professor, Agronomy and Forestry at the State University of Sao Paulo (UNESP: from 1989 to 1996. He has published more than 50 articles in peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and two books. He is member of the International Advisory Group of PPG7, UNCTAD – Biotrade Programme, FUNBIO, NGOs and private sector. He speaks fluent Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian.
Challenges for Sustainable Production of Biofuels in Brazil: How Green are They?
Biofuels have the potential to displace a significant amount of petroleum around the world in the next few decades, and this trend has already begun. But the full deployment of its potential requires concerted of actions, ranging from enabling policies, development and access to technology, quantifiable socio and environmental benefits compared to fossil fuels, capacity building and awareness. Several countries are in the process of developing biofuels policies with strong incentives to increase their production and promote their use for transport over the next few years, and thus creating markets that need to be attended, especially from developed countries. Biofuels can be either in a liquid form (like ethanol or biodiesel) or in gaseous form such as biogas and hydrogen. They are produced from biological sources like feedstock (cereals, grains, sugar crops and other starches), cellulosic materials (trees and wood processing wate), oil-seed crops (soybeans and rapeseed) or organic wastes (waste oil such as cooking oil and animal fat). The potential production of biofuels from crops depends on several factors acting at different temporal and space scales such as: agricultural policies, land availability, agricultural yield, cultivated area and the conversion yield (biofuels yield per ton of crop). To what extend, the production of biofuels might contribute to severe land use changes and to compete with food production, and yet be an important alternative for fossil substitution, is still under investigation and requires inter-disciplinary research and frameworks for their proper assessment. This paper addresses some of these key issues related to the production of biofuels, and their impacts (positive and negative) on socio-environmental indicators, using the Brazilian Programme for Production and Use of Biodiesel as a case study and other references from the Brazilian Ethanol Program.