Brazil: the natural knowledge economy
Kirsten Bound – THE ATLAS OF IDEAS
If you grew up in Europe or North America you will no doubt have been taught in school that the Wright Brothers from Ohio invented and flew the first aeroplane – the Kitty Hawk – in 1903. But if you grew up in Brazil you will have been taught that the real inventor was in fact a Brazilian from Minas Gerais called Alberto Santos Dumont, whose 14-bis aeroplane took to the skies in 1906. This fierce historical debate, which turns on definitions of ‘practical airplanes’, the ability to launch unaided, length of time spent in the air and the credibility of witnesses, will not be resolved here. Yet it is a striking example of the lack of global recognition for Brazil’s achievements in innovation.
Almost a century later, in 2005, Santos Dumont’s intellectual heirs, the company Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica (EMBRAER), made aviation history of a different kind when they unveiled the Ipanema, the world’s first commercially produced aircraft to run solely on biofuels. This time, the world was watching. Scientific American credited it as one of the most important inventions of the year. The attention paid to the Ipanema reflects the growing interest in biofuels as a potential solution to climate change and rising energy demand. To their advocates, biofuels – most commonly bioethanol or biodiesel – offer a more secure, sustainable energy supply that can reduce carbon emissions by 50–60 per cent compared to fossil fuels. (...)
O trecho do segundo parágrafo – This time, the world was watching. –
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