The world's largest biofuel plant, capable of producing 110 million litres (29 million gallons) of fuel annually from animal fat, has been inaugurated in the Brazilian capital, the Spanish news agency EFE said.
The plant, owned by the Bertin group and based in the city of Lins, in the interior of Sao Paulo state was inaugurated Tuesday in the presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Beginning next year, all diesel fuel sold in Brazil will have to contain at least two percent biodiesel and the new facility is expected to meet 13 percent of the country's demand for biodiesel.
"It's 'picanha' biodiesel," the president said, referring to one of the most highly prized cuts of meat in Brazil.
The new plant, despite the fact that it also has the capacity to produce biodiesel, using oilseeds like soybeans, will use the fat and other bovine waste products from Bertin's meatpacking division.
A third of the $42 million cost of construction was provided by Brazil's state development bank, BNDES.
According to Bertin's calculations, Brazil will need 840 million litters (222 million gallons) of biodiesel per year to satisfy the two percent mixture quota.
Brazil, with 30 years' experience in producing fuels from vegetable products, is the world's largest exporter of ethanol made from sugarcane.
The country also has several projects under way to produce biodiesel from soybeans, castor oil plants, palm plants and sunflowers.
Brazil and the US - which produces ethanol from corn - this year signed a pact to promote the production and consumption of biofuels worldwide.
Lula's government has already signed several accords with Latin American and African countries to offer them technology and training in projects to produce ethanol and biodiesel.