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EPE study shows that the use of biodiesel reduces pollution and saves lives

07/28/2021 | 16h16
EPE study shows that the use of biodiesel reduces pollution and saves lives
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The study "Impact on human health from the use of biofuels in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo", carried out by the Energy Research Company (EPE) and concluded in February this year, finds that the use of biodiesel mixed with petroleum diesel in the system's vehicles Public transport prevents hospital admissions for various respiratory diseases and even saves lives.


Prepared based on the atmospheric pollution inventory of the Environmental Company of the State of São Paulo (CETESB), the work compared the emissions of fossil diesel engines from public transport before blending biodiesel, with the air contamination rates of 2018, when the addition percentage is now 10%. The result is revealing: "It is estimated that this program prevented 244 deaths a year, and that the population has lost 9 days of life since birth".


The positive impacts of the use of biodiesel on the health of the population and the conclusions of the EPE study will be discussed at the table of debates that will address the theme "Quality of biodiesel to the consumer - the value beyond the price, social, environmental and public health aspects" , which will take place during the webinar that the Brazilian Union of Biodiesel and Biokerosene (Ubrabio) will hold between August 9th and 13th in partnership with Empresa de Pesquisa Energética and Embrapa Agroenergia.


The EPE study makes an encouraging projection: "If the percentage of biodiesel in diesel B reached 15%, there would be 104 fewer deaths per year and life expectancy would increase by another 4 days, when compared to trajectory B10". By law, the blend of biodiesel in fossil diesel must be 14% in March of next year and 15% in March 2023. By decision of the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE), from September this percentage will rise from the current percentage 10% to 12%.


In its conclusion, the EPE study says that the use of biodiesel enables, with the improvement in the quality of life, a positive impact on the economy as a whole. "Compared to a scenario in which there would be no addition of biodiesel (B0), there would be a negative impact of R$17 billion due to the reduction in the population's life expectancy. With the trajectory of B15, there would be a gain of another R$7. 6 billion".


Public health 

According to data from the Ministry of Health, from 2008 to 2017, diseases related to air pollution were one of the main causes of hospitalization and required public spending of R$ 12.5 billion on treatments. In 2018, hospitalizations for respiratory problems consumed R$ 1.3 billion from the Unified Health System (SUS), according to official data. In São Paulo alone, around 12% of hospital admissions for respiratory diseases are attributed to fossil diesel emissions.


In another study coordinated by the University of São Paulo (USP), it was calculated that vehicles powered by petroleum diesel are responsible for about half the concentration of toxic compounds emitted into the atmosphere, such as benzene, toluene and particulate matter. Researchers consider the value too high because buses and trucks represent only 5% of the total vehicle fleet.

Font: T&B Petroleum/Press Office
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